If you’re a business leader, you strive to inspire positive change in your organization every day. I’ve seen clients in a variety of industries master change management. As an example, one client started with this view: “The last time I tried to create a positive atmosphere for change, it didn’t work so it’s not worth putting in the effort, again.” With some coaching they chose a different thought - “My last attempt at positive change didn’t work, which makes sense because change is scary. I can try a new approach”. The second way of thinking provided more opportunity to the business. Optimistic focus and awareness deliver more powerful results. Have you ever noticed negative thoughts hold you back from reaching your goals? Holding on to negative thoughts as the truth is one of the most self-defeating barriers to personal and professional advancement. These 4 steps will give you a jump start for successful change management:
From a change management perspective, it's helpful to first pay attention to thoughts. Take special notice of the ones that come with feelings of fear, anger, guilt, shame, or hopelessness. When thoughts invoke these feelings, they can keep us from making productive steps to our successful results. When leaders act on negative thoughts, we are more likely to be experiencing stress, which will limit our options and lead to poor executive decisions which could have a destructive impact on the business.
Positive thinking doesn't mean sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring life's less pleasant situations. It would be unrealistic to ignore or gloss over the stressful challenges of business. Choosing our state of mind and how we’d like to respond to these challenges allows choice and creative problem solving. The key for executives is to be aware that we can chose to not let our initial thoughts impact the choices we make. Successful change management includes proactive and optimistic thinking which helps open the possibility of seeing obstacles in a more positive and productive way.
For sustainable change to occur it takes awareness, patience, and practice to manage thinking. This is an evolving process. When you hear a negative message – stop and ask yourself what else could be an option or true about this situation? Substitute negative thinking with more positive thoughts whenever possible. It’s helpful to consistently look for the good in every situation. Even with the most difficult challenges, we can learn something. By turning up the volume of positive thoughts and reducing the volume of negative ones it will help the entire organization transition. Adherence to this change management technique will result in more business success and employee engagement.
The ultimate purpose of examining what is going on inside our minds is to refocus our actions that are self-defeating. Tapping into our imagination to visualize favorable and beneficial outcomes can assist us in overcoming any obstacle or difficulty. Enduring change only happens with modifying thoughts, actions and behaviors. Positive thoughts become positive actions. To truly activate the full power of this critical thinking process our optimistic focus and awareness needs to be consistent. Favorable thinking and actions brings happiness and higher achievement to all aspects of our lives.
Awareness. Choice. Practice. Action. These four steps will get your next change management initiative positioned for success.
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