Posts Tagged ‘Change Initiation’

Be Still – from Conformity to Mobility

Oct 21, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Change Initiation | From The Inside Out

One of the many miracles Jesus’ performed during His ministry; “Calming the Storm” incidentally is one of the favorite story my kids like in their bed-time story. There seems to be this recurring theme about casting our worries unto His care in the Bible – I think this is more than a promise from God but a command He desires from us.

Be Still – a simple posture of not acting seems to go against the grain of our need to do, act and perform; to think useful, to feel valuable and to be justified.

In my career as a trainer and facilitator, I was privileged to meet with some like-minded people and great thinkers from around the world. One of them is Timothy Gallwey – a pioneer in sports motivation and psychology. Tim wrote the first book “The Inner Game of Tennis” in 1972 and follow-up with a series of Inner Game series in the last four decades. It was his “Inner Game of Work” that brought his theory of human potential to main stream business coaching in 1998 and to Singapore in 2002 during the association’s inaugural Human Capital conference; In which Tim and I met and became friend partly due to our love for the game of tennis. I met with him again five years later in Los Angeles and continue to be amazed with his thinking that has transcend from sports to business to communities-at-large.

One of his conceptual idea about learning is mobility – from Conformity to Mobility; the ability to learn and be aware without being paralyzed by doing and external pressure of producing result. Many of us always think that to perform is to produce, hence there is a great need to act and do. Tim has argued that in order to gain mobility is having the ability to STOP – an acronym he shared to debunk the myth of ‘performance momentum‘ – a term he argued that most of us have habitual actions we do in the course of the day without a moment’s thought of why we do them.

Step Back – to step back means to put distance between yourself and whatever you are involved with at the moment. Step back from the momentum of action, thinking and emotion. Find a place of poise and balance – a place where you can think clearly, creatively and independently.

Think – to stop thinking momentarily in order to think may sound like a paradox, but it is not. Here Tim expounded that there is a shift in the thinking gears, a disengagement of thought in order to either rest or engage in a different level of thinking. Here’s where you begin to ask thoughtful questions.

Organize your Thoughts – Thinking may not usually occur in a perfectly organized fashion. Especially in longer STOPs where there has been creative thinking about problem solving or strategic planning. ‘Organize’ is your chance to pull your thinking together, bring coherence to your plan, consider priorities, and provide a sequence for actions.

Proceed – You don’t stay on the mountaintop if you want to take action. There is definitely a right time to descend from your thinking space, and that should be when things has been refresh and clarified. When the goals and the next steps are clear, and you have been connected to your motivations and surrounding, you are ready to get back to work.

Again, do not hesitate to STOP once clarity fades. The biggest resistance to using the STOP tool is the habitual comfort of ‘performance momentum’, our inherent way of doing and ‘performing’ that may gets in our way of learning and enjoyment.

Points to Ponder:

  • STOP at the beginning and end of each workday or project.
  • STOP to make an conscious change.
  • STOP to address a mistake, ask a question.
  • STOP to correct miscommunication and to check how your performance momentum have impacted on others.
  • STOP to listen, learn, coach and encourage.
  • STOP to rest.

How do you know that you don’t know?

May 14, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | HR Insights | Stories Retold

Picture source: Terra Kate via Flickr

Picture source: Terra Kate via Flickr

Our boy Timothy is 10 years old. We have been trying to impress upon him the benefits of oral hygiene since he has his first tooth…and these are what we have done in the past:

• Bought him the most attractive toothbrush and most enticing toothpaste when he started brushing. (HR C&B?)
• Bought him books and DVD animated series about dental hygiene. (Training & Education?)
• Showed him many times how to brush by holding his hands, forcing our way into his mouth etc. (Coaching & Mentoring?)
• Model to him every morning and night…(Leadership?)

But he still succumbed to tooth decayed, gum diseases etc…until Jan this year…

We booked an appointment with Health Promotion Board (HPB). A division that provides dental-care for the Ministry of Education school-going children. When it was Tim’s turn for the check, he walked in bravely but commented it was creepy and cold…a Dr. Ng Jing Jing attended to him and after checking realized that he has a decayed milk tooth that will need to be extracted. But due to his previous VSD condition, they will need a confirmation from the cardiologist from KK before the procedure. Dr.Ng explained patiently to us and proceed to do the routine “re-educational” with Tim, that was when it impressed upon me most…

What Dr. Ng did was a great learning for me not just about teaching Tim oral hygiene, but her approaches; she started with having Tim holding a small mirror to his mouth so that Tim are able to “SEE” what’s he’s doing when she explains…the whole process! I was dumb-founded for a moment and realised the importance “Learning and Knowing”. I realised that Tim would probably never know what’s going on ‘in his mouth’ when we taught him how to brush his teeth in the past…at least not visually knowing…but when he saw what happened, he look more convinced and confident about oral hygiene. I was totally impressed. Tim even commented after that: “I have never felt my teeth so clean in my life”.

That episode brings my reflection to a client of mine that grappled with ‘Change’ in their organization. As I shared with them about the reality of what’s happening with their processes after a ‘Change Urgency’ audit, they weren’t sure the data would be too “hard a reality” for some of the people. I explained that for change to happen, people need to “See”,“Know” and “Understand” the reality of what’s going on before they will have the motivation to change. My job then is to be as real as a mirror to reflect that back to them…

A mirror to tell the truth…but the challenge remains whether people are prepare to see what’s the reality…they still have a choice to NOT see what they are capable of seeing….hence knowing and learning…thus changing.

Are your people ready to face up to the reality? Are you ready to be the mirror to help them “SEE” the reality?

“Bottleneck” and “Dilly Dallying” – What do they have in common?

May 04, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles | Leadership Infusion

Picture source: cscotte via Flickr

Picture source: cscotte via Flickr

Over the last weekend, labor chief Mr. Lim Swee Say and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew were at different public setting giving speech on entirely different topics and scenarios – Lim was at May Day Rally urging unions and workers-at-large to be prepared for global competition and probable economic storms ahead. While Lee was guest at Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference addressing climate change and legal practice. While reading the reports on paper, I found similarity with both sharing their thoughts on interesting terms such as “bottleneck” and “dilly dallying”. Let me explained:

Mr. Lim argued that all parties in labor movement should ride on this time of ‘upturn’ to identify “bottleneck” that limits productivity growth. He went on to emphasis that the “bottleneck” may go beyond the issues of just work processes and stages, working smarter and worker’s skills and knowledge; it is in the mind of the ‘bottleneck beholder’ that lurks within organizations that are unable to ‘see’ problems – which in itself is a “bottleneck” problem.

When asked what’s the key challenges facing the fights against climate change globally, Mr. Lee noted that the problem with fighting climate change is governments themselves. While he would not say that the Copenhagen Summit was a failure as it led to a meeting of world leaders’ minds on the issue — Mr Lee was pessimistic about future meetings securing a breakthrough in setting commitments on cuts in carbon emissions. He said: “There will be more dilly dallying internationally as every country focuses on its own internal problems.”

Both have different context, issue and scale; but I see of same problem – a problem of not ‘seeing’ I (or we) have a problem. In the same way, it could be that of ‘why not let’s hear your problem first before I tell you mine’ (in condition that the problem that you tell me is more serious than mine). Mr. Lim emphasis that the biggest “bottleneck” is in the mind of people – which is more difficult to identify than systems and processes.  Mr. Lee using the term “dilly dallying internationally” by country leaders focusing on internal problems also has a connotation of “self-preservation”.

Are you in a position to help someone ‘see’ the problem that they have but are not able to ‘see’?

Or could it be you that are not able to ‘see’ the problem? Or you that are ‘dilly dallying’ so that ‘change’ only happens when it ‘starts’ with others first?

What a weekend of learning for me!