by Judith E. Glaser
The more we talk about change, the more we talk about all the problems and challenges that can emerge – resulting in negative mindsets which trigger “fear hormones” and “threat networks” in our brains. No wonder change is so difficult.
By the time we are ready to take action we are frozen in place. Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your Conversational Intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams, and the whole organization.
Too often we get stuck in habit patterns of “talking about,” but not creating, change. However, you can shift the way you think about change the same way that successful leaders use to navigate their own journeys…
Three Strategies for Changing Workplace Culture
1st Success Factor: The first skill is be the change for transforming the culture. Realize you have the power, influence and the ability to see and understand the culture in which you work, and to see how you can play a role in transforming it into a healthier, more inspiring, and thriving culture. Transforming culture can mean a culture that is so powerful it transforms itself, or it can mean that you play a role in activating the culture transformation.
Call to Action: Envision how you can play a catalytic role in transforming your culture. Envision how you can be accountable for co-creating transformation in your culture by the way you show up at work every day. When you put skin in the game, you become the change that transforms the culture.
2nd Success Factor: The second skill, embrace the opportunity, is the ability to step out of your Comfort Zone and, rather than allowing fear of the unknown paralyze you, embrace the opportunity with excitement and enthusiasm. Your shift in focus will create positive ripple effects on those you influence. By fully stepping out of your comfort zone into a new opportunity – you are activating your ability to transform yourself, and also to inspire courage in others.
Call to Action: Embracing opportunity both “encourages: others and “inspires courage” in yourself and others. By seeing transformation and change as a way to grow, you influence how you experience the challenge in a positive and less fearful way.
3rd Success Factor: The third skill, create space for conversations, is the ability to intentionally open up opportunities for feedback-rich conversations one-on-one, within teams and across the organization. By opening up space for and creating Conversational Journeys, you create an environment in which employees have room to learn, grow, and be nourished by new ideas and energy.
Call to Action: Creating spaces is a call to action you need to take every day to open the space for more innovative, generative, and catalytic conversations to take place in your relationships and teams. This space “signals our brain” that we can discover and share new ideas we’ve never talked about before.
Empowering your team to work in concert to achieve your organization’s goals and strategies requires flexibility of thought, agility of mind, and speed of response. Most of all, it requires you to break out of old conversational habits and negative patterns of communicating and view the impact you can have on your business in totally new ways.
Read about two more Success Factors to creating change in the workplace.
Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of 4 best-selling business books, including her newest, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) www.creatingwe.com; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-307-4386