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Culture Series: Creating a Culture of Change Part 1

September 13, 2019

written by
Barbara O Stephenson

Creating Change- Part 1 All About Attitude

Change takes effort. Humans are programmed to do what is the most simple and requires the least amount of brainpower and effort. We enjoy our mindless habits and wallow in simplicity so we can focus on the things that we need to be addressed or that we like to think about. But a business can’t afford to sit still with daily 1,001 + new technologies, increased competition, decreased market share, a mobile workforce, and a million other changes. A business can’t afford to be mindless and just keep doing things the way they are day after day or there won’t be a business left at the end of the day.

Change is just a thing

Change isn’t inherently bad or good. It’s your attitude that shapes if you react positively or negatively to it. Embracing change opens up your mind and your sense of self to new possibilities and avenues that you may not have thought of before. I will say it can be scary and it’s painful sometimes. Change is about doing things differently, and different is risky. Risk also isn’t bad, but there is always a potential for failure and for some of us, that’s enough to stop the process right there. 

Be proactive, not reactive

No one likes to fail but like change, failing isn’t good or bad. It’s all about your mindset. There are two different mindsets- fixed and open. It’s a hell of a lot easier to be open than fixed in place because the change, risk, and failure that will still happen force you into being reactive instead of proactive. Being reactive is a loss of control and that’s stressful, which sucks. And while being proactive takes energy (and overplanning is very much a thing) it is how you take an active part in your job and your life.

Don’t assign blame

Understanding why change is needed is the first step after fixing your attitude from reactive to proactive. Address this head-on and identify the pain points you’re having or the areas you’d like to improve. Write a list and don’t shy away from hard truths.  This sounds much easier than it actually is, so make sure you’re in a good space to be objective.  However, don’t derail at this point by focusing on the exact behaviors, emotional outbursts, and every little transgression. And this is hard because it’s logical right ferret out every painful little trigger, right? Who is always late to the office? Who is being passive-aggressive? Why do they make personal attacks on coworkers? Who didn’t follow up…. again? Well, I don’t recommend you play the blame game. By focusing on the blame, you’re not going to create change. While I know the counter-argument that if you don’t know what the problem is you can’t fix it, I don’t feel that attitude gets you very far.  You’ll place blame and foster resentment, which then erects the largest barrier to effective behavior modification – stubbornness and hostility. 

Avoid negativity

Also this way you won’t get bogged down with the details. Every single behavior that goes into change doesn’t need to be cataloged and outlined in a powerpoint presentation. You’ll make the problem into something bigger than it really is, you risk creating a sense of powerlessness, and you’re already focusing on the negative. We want change to happen because people want to change, not because they are forced into it. 

Part 2 Next up, creating the solutions.