Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Recognizing the Need for Change 6

The first step in any change process is recognizing that there is a need to change.  This can often be a difficult initial step to overcome because many organizations and people hold the belief, "why change - I like the way things are!"  We all need to recognize that change is inevitable; there is always a need to seek out innovative ways to improve.

Experience tells us that too often organizations rush into change without really considering the need.  In their eagerness to pursue a change initiative, they can chase the wrong end state and ultimately waste valuable resources.  Often this goal of saving resources was the focus of the project in the first place.  This is most likely the result of poor change leadership skills. To be resilient, all of us need to develop excellent change leadership skills.
Communicating During A Period Of Change 
  • Ensure that everyone is aware of the change initiative
  • Offer reassurance that change is necessary and explain why
  • Focus attention on the activities of those involved in delivering the change
  • Offer reassurance that the change is being properly managed
  • Provide timely information on the progress of the change initiative
  • Ensure that all communications are accurate and that they reflect both the successes and failures of the change process
  • Discuss the different options available
  • Discuss and reinforce the desired patterns of behavior that are taking place as a result of the change initiative
  • Be sure that those outside the business are also reassured
  • Ensure that there are quick resolutions to any challenges encountered
Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Friday, October 14, 2016

Resilient Organizations 5

Change is a permanent feature of all organizations regardless of sector or size.   However, the ability to take charge of change can be a key distinguishing feature of a successful organization.   Change impacts all of us in different ways.  How quickly we bounce back from change reflects our level of resilience.  We can help our organization to become more resilient by leading change.

Three Characteristics of Resilient Organizations:

1.  A Clear Purpose And Values
An organization must have a strategy to be successful.  A clear purpose is what encourages individuals to get involved and actively participate in the activities and direction of the organization.  Employees will then understand why they are there, what needs to be done, and most importantly - where they are going.  A sense of purpose supported with clear values and principles must be known to everyone within the organization.

2.  Prepare Employees For Change
Regular training of employees on how to understand and manage change is essential.  Don't wait until the change is impacting your organization before preparing employees for change, or it may be too late.

3.  Build Flexibility And Innovation
In times of change, innovation will allow an organization to break down boundaries, while flexibility will enable employees to prepare the organization for the future.  These characteristics can also help us with personal resilience.  Having a clear purpose, being prepared for change, and ensuring that you have the innovation to break down barriers will help you on your journey.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Strengths and Qualities of Resilient Teams

Resilient teams create effective visions of where they want to be.  They have the ability to achieve their goals even in the face of adversity.  They set clear goals associated with specific actions.  Let's look at some of the characteristics of these teams.

Characteristics of Resilient Teams
Assess Their Own Work
Resilient teams encourage members to assess their own work using constructive feedback rather than by applying standard auditing techniques. Constructive feedback enables employees to honestly consider the quality of their work, think about what has been learned, and understand how they performed in relation to their own expectations.  As this insight develops, employees can begin to evaluate their own work.  Supervisors can guide and encourage discussion.  Questions to ask might include, "What was easy or challenging? "What might be done differently next time?  What can be learned from this situation that can be applied across the organization?"  It is this sense of ownership that is the cornerstone of resilience and that resilient employees must practice.

Develop Their Own Standards
Resilient teams encourage members to develop their own standards.  This ownership helps to avoid statements such as, "I didn't know that was the quality you wanted."  It also means that teams won't be frustrated with mixed messages from management, and their efforts will be evaluated in a fully transparent way.

Stimulate A Culture Of Humor
Humor is a daily part of life in a working environment.  In times of great change, there might be a tendency to stop opportunities for humor with the view that it distracts from the seriousness of the change at hand.  However, being able to laugh within a team about mistakes, errors, and even change cuts tension and can lessen concern.  It may not lessen the fear that some employees may have, but restricting humor takes away a natural release mechanism or coping strategy for some.

Set Their Own Rules
Having open discussions on rules invites employees to determine consequences and reflect on concepts like the reasons for rules and the instances when they should apply.  Creating their own rules enables employees to develop responsibility and ownership for their own behavior, for one another, and for the team.

Opportunity To Make Choices
Facilitating choices encourages creativity within a team.  It also reinforces ownership and the consequences of decisions.

Opportunities For Self Discovery
Being resilient requires an ability to look inside ourselves and acknowledge our feelings and thoughts.  It also involves the capability to distance ourselves from these emotions and respond to the situation rather than the emotion.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Friday, October 7, 2016

Personal Traits of Resilient Leaders

Have you ever noticed how resilient leaders continually deliver results?  We believe that all resilient individuals possess strong personal leadership competencies that allow them to successfully adapt to change and bounce back from adversity.  

Leadership is a key competency of all resilient employees.  It is important to remember that great leaders do not always have to hold a position of authority.  Sometimes, it is their personal leadership characteristics that are clearly evident.  These characteristics can be learned.

Five Characteristics of Resilient Leaders:

1. Stay Positive
Learning to stay positive is actually a simple decision to make.  It is often non-verbal communication that inspires rather than the words themselves.  You must have the confidence to believe in what you are proposing and make that evident to all those around you.

2. Stay Focused
The resilient individual knows what he/she wants and is committed to that focus.  This focus allows us to cut through the baggage that can distract from reaching our goals.

3. Stay Flexible
Seek solutions rather than complain or blame.  Suggest a positive action to take even if you are tempted to give up.  Persistence is crucial.   Draw on internal and external resources available.  Keep in mind that other individuals hold the answers, so listening skills are important.

4. Stay Organized
The resilient individual uses structured approaches to managing ambiguity.  Break situations into manageable pieces, then plan and take action.

5. Take Initiative
Change is a natural part of life.  The resilient leader takes the initiative and responsibility for actions.  It is persistence that delivers results.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What Children Can Teach Us About Change

Change can be particularly difficult for us as adults.  Here are some things that we can learn from children that can help us get through some difficult times.

Persistence: Have you ever seen a child at a task that seems impossible?  If you have, you've probably also seen her achieve the task due to pure persistence.  Now, how often have you seen us as adults give up before we even have begun?  

Compassion For Others:  Knowing others enables us to know ourselves.  As children, we learn compassion for others, and this helps us to play collaboratively. We learn to understand how we would feel and react in certain situations from learning from others.  The resilient child intuitively knows that compassion helps us form bonds that will propel us forward even in times of great change.

Sense Of Humor: Children have fun.  They fall down, laugh and get back up again.   We adults, on the other hand, complain about how life is so hard.  We often don't get back up .  It is as if it is easier to complain about the hard knocks of life than to enjoy what we do.  Humor often puts the magnitude of change in perspective.  This laughter helps us all to rise above and bounce back with a new energy.  

Strong Ethics: Children learn right from wrong and apply this to different settings.  This conviction can be very marked and allows children to bounce back from many situations. The baggage we carry distracts us from our goals and make us less resilient in our outlook.  

Get Attention In Positive Ways:  We all like praise.  Children especially like reinforcement, and they often seek out positive and negative ways to get this attention.  The positive actions usually create the change they desire.  

Positive Outlook On Life:  A positive outlook on life is a hallmark of resilient individuals.  It is not what happens to us but our response to it that predicts our emotional health.  Children learn to be more resilient by becoming more optimistic in response to difficulty.  Children as a rule start life with an optimistic perspective.  Resilient children and adults keep this outlook in later life, and it enables them to take on life's challenges directly.  

Effort Can Change Things: Children know that they can effect change in their environment no matter what size they are.  If you need evidence, just think of a crying child who stops crying when he gets what he wants!  As adults, many of us act as if we have no control.  However, as the Dalai Lama said, "if you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."  You'll soon realize that size doesn’t matter.  

Plan Ahead:  Children can be ingenious in breaking situations down into manageable pieces and then planning and coordinating action.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What is Resilience?

The word resilience comes from the Latin resilio which means to turn around, to make a leap or to rebound. It is like an elastic band when it is stretched and stretched but then always returns to its initial shape.

One of the main criteria to why organizations succeed or fail, compete or crumble is how resilient their employees are.  To be resilient, all of us have to develop excellent change leadership skills.

Embracing the characteristics of resilient children, promoting the personal traits of resilient leaders and recognizing the strengths and the qualities of resilient teams and organizations will help us to become more resilient.

What can you control?
A clear characteristic of resilient people is their capacity to achieve their goals even in the face of adversity.  Many of the organizational changes that you will experience in your working life may not actually be initiated by you.  In fact, many employees feel that they have little or no control over the change that impact directly on them.  How often have you heard other employees say “what can I do?” Despite this, resilient individuals have an ability to bounce back while others feel helpless in their plight in life.  Here’s the secret: resilient individuals shift the power by taking control. This is merely a shift in energy from a powerless “what can I do?” to an energized, “what can I do to make a difference?”

Think about what you CAN control, what you can influence, and what you cannot control. Focus on those things about the change that you CAN control.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Diversity - Summary

To summarize what we've learned in our Diversity series: 
  • We have defined diversity as "the differences that make us unique."
  • We have discussed that many ongoing demographic changes are affecting the makeup of the workforce, presenting specific leadership challenges, and calling for changes in management approaches.
  • We have identified five key skills that can help us manage diversity effectively.
  • We have seen that valuing differences, taking action, and overcoming barriers will help ensure that we can leverage the advantages of diversity.
  • We have seen that focusing on managing diversity helps organizations attain four business imperatives that will help them gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • We have explored the Flex-Management model which recognizes that each individual worker retains his or her unique makeup while becoming part of the workplace.
  • We have seen how Flex-Management strategies show a deep appreciation of individual differences, recognizing that although people are more alike than they are different, they all have different needs.
  • We have come to appreciate that "one size" no longer fits all employees, and one way of doing things will not work in today's diverse workplace.
  • We have realized the importance of determining our current skill level to know which areas we can target for personal development in managing diversity.
  • We have formulated a personal Managerial Development Plan and committed to taking action that is critical for individual development in managing diversity.
Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP