Success Simplified

Monika has recently co-authored a book on “Success Simplified” with Stephen Covey.

Success Simplified book cover

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Change Leadership: Managing the People Side of Change

You have heard it said a billion times. Change is hard. So how can you be strategic; it may be hard but not impossible. Let us explore some ways to develop an effective change management plan that works for you and your team.

Change often happens in organizations. Employees come and go, leadership fine-tunes organizational goals, workload priorities get modified, and growth happens. The only constant thing about change is change itself. However, you can be there for your employees to better prepare for it, and coordinate workplace change efforts so that it happens effortlessly. As leaders, you need to handle and delegate the workplace change efforts effectively to be successful and adopted by the entire organization.

First, you need to model the change. It would be best if you led by example. If you walk around the workplace being grouchy and bad-mouthing the upcoming change, then everyone around you will resist it.

Make sure that you communicate the changes. Answer questions when they are asked of you. Often open communication between team members and managers and employees is critical in times of change. Do not let rumours lead you afield. Provide clear direction or clarification when something is vague. Encourage your employees to learn everything there is to know about the change from the most reliable sources first. Do not have them jump to conclusions. Ask them not to listen to gossips or hearsay but to ask for clarification from you.

What are the requirements of the new job, what skills, from your old position can you bring to the new one? In other words, instead of focusing on differences, focus on similarities. We find that only 5% of the population do not like any change at all. About 65% of the employees will accept some changes as long as they feel their some similarity to the situation. Twenty percent of the population love change, the more, the better. They need significant change about 1-2 years. While 10% will accept the change before they look for things that are the same, they will give more attention to anything that is new and different then most employees.

Do you remember when Coke tried to introduce the New Coke? When they tested the taste of New Coke, the results were conclusive: New Coke tasted better than the old Coke. However, they could not have tested the name. Only a maximum of 30 percent of the population in work is interested in new, according to Rodger Bailey’s work. However, this was a soft drink. How many people do you think would want to drink something new in soft drinks, as opposed to what they know, trust, and buy consistently? Apparently, not very many. Coca Cola responded and returned old Coke to the market. They called it Coke Classic, which is familiar to the majority of the population.

Around the same time Labatt Blue, a Canadian beer understood the pattern. They produced a billboard campaign with the slogan: “Tired of the same, old thing? Neither are we.”

Maintaining a positive attitude during times of changes may not always be easy, especially when negative thoughts leak into the workplace. Chrissy Scivicque of Forbes.com explains: “Let go of the feelings you have associated with the old way of doing things. Comfort can be more emotional than rational. Remember that you are limitlessly flexible and that growth almost always comes with discomfort.” They say that having the right attitude could provide you more chances to improve and further your career. By embracing new changes with an optimistic, proactive, and flexible approach, you will be seen as an adaptable and accomplished participant. This can have a positive impact on your growth in the workplace. These positive results can endorse why change is such a necessary process.

As a change leader ensure that you involve all your employees in the process and help them break from the past. Use your role to get people to focus on what might be better, not worse, after the change. One of the crucial causes for employees is struggling with change is that they try to keep doing the same things in the same way as before, even though things are different now. By inspiring your team to think innovatively about how they can take advantage of the new environment.

Create a supportive learning environment. Having fun is the first thing that goes out the window when fear of change in the workplace rears its ugly head. Find ways of bringing laughter to work to keep people positive and productive.

“Yes, but” is the phrase of resisting change and seen as an eraser. Instead get your team to focus on using, “yes, and” and make sure you use the phrase “yes, and” as well.

So have an open mind, listen carefully, ask questions, clarify and participate in the change discussion from the onset. Also, know your rights as an employee of the organization even if you are in management.

Demonstrate a genuine concern for aspects of change that you do not understand. Seek guidance if you feel uncertain. Be positive. What does this mean? How is this going to work? How does this affect what I do? Knowing what you can control and what you have no control over will help you in your energy and achievements. 

Take care of yourself. Recognize that different emotions are caused by change. Listen to your body. Speak to and relax with trusted colleagues, friends and family members. Maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and get enough rest. Enjoy your pastimes. Be practical and realistic about change.

Handling change requires flexibility on your part, so practice being flexible. The more capable you are to adapt to change, the higher your chances of being successful.

Remember, change is constant, but your future is optimistic! Why? You now know how to cope with change a bit better now.

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Smiling Is Contagious. Try it and see.

It has been a spring that many will say there was nothing to smile about. It was cold, rainy and dark. From all the rain we have beautiful green lawns and flowers starting to bloom. Again there are many people in parts of the world that are not smiling with all the rain causing flooding and destruction. I wanted to take this opportunity to write about smiling and how contagious it may be in our workplace and for our clients.

Some people are always smiling, cheerful, and they seem to brighten up a room. Their positive attitude and gusto are identified by those they come in contact with. Moreover, we have all encountered those have the opposite effect on people-the “doom and gloom effect.” we often refer to one’s attitude and yet what is that? It is your mental state or the position you take regarding life.

Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”  If you take the word “OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE,” some people see the “no where” while others see “now here.” So is the glass half empty or half full? Often the difference between success and failure is not linked to how we look, how we dress, or how much education we have; it is based on how we think!

Great leaders share the same thought; knowing that a positive attitude is contagious. As leaders, it is vital that we display a positive mindset daily. After all, if we expect our employees to express positive attitudes, we should model such behaviours for them to see.

Each day we have a choice of whether we elect to display a positive or negative attitude. Daily, we encounter negative attitudes at work and in our personal lives. If you remain positive amongst pessimism, you can be contagious.

Some times it is not that easy. I have found some tips I would like to share to help you be positive from “Attitudes are Contagious. Is Yours Worth Catching” by Patti Wanamaker.

  • Be enthusiastic – people love to be around enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious and draws others to you like a magnet.
  • Associate with positive people – if you want to stay positive, stay away from people that drag you down. Associate yourself around like-minded people.
  • Smile – smiling makes it all better. Smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are known as the feel-good hormones. It is a lot easier to adopt a positive attitude when you feel good!
  • Change your thoughts – positive thoughts lead to a positive attitude, while negative thoughts lead to an adverse reaction.
  • Stop complaining – limit your complaints. Whining and griping about anything and everything will not create a positive attitude. When you are complaining, you are spreading negativity.
  • If you want more success in your leadership role and to have a positive impact on your employees, then make sure your attitude is worth catching.

Many of you are thinking, what is there to smile about, and why maintain a positive attitude when there are doom and gloom around us? Research has shown that there are health benefits of smiling in the workplace. We are dealing with conflict, mental health issues and have difficult situations arising every day as we manage our workplace. Interestingly many years ago, it was declared that “the smile is the best medicine for the happiness of humanity.” Later scientific research explained the effects and physiological benefits of smiling for a healthier life. Smiling can be beneficial, in dealing with illness, pressures of everyday life, stress at work, and smiling can even substantially change the quality and forecasts of our lives.

Would life not be better if people smile regularly? I think smiling every day would keep you away from the doctor and feeling self-confident. Try these:

By smiling, we can reduce the level of stress hormones. Smiling helps us to increase the number of antibody-producing cells and improve the effectiveness of other cells.

Smiling is good for our general health. Smiling 100 times is equivalent to ten minutes of rowing or cycling in fifteen minutes.

Sometimes we just want to laugh or cry. That means you want to release all the pent feelings in your head, making you feel both physically and mentally better. So to reduce anxiety smile often, even when you are not happy. Smiling at others will, in turn, help them be happy.

Smiling can take you from being angry, stressed, feeling guilty, and negative to putting you in a more favourable frame of mind. Smiling will make you change yourself and improve the attitudes and thinking to other people to the better.

When people can view an event that may be frightening as funny, they may be able to feel more content and see the events occurred just merely as a “challenge” in life, rather than a threat.

There are times when smiling, and laughter can be contagious. If you smile more than you can make other people around you also smile more. So by smiling yourself, you can reduce the stress levels of people around you and change their moods. Maybe even improve the quality of social interaction, and reduce your stress level as well.

They say that optimists have a stronger immune system and can fight disease better than the pessimists. There is a link between a positive attitude and good health, which is measured in many different ways. In general, researchers have discovered that optimistic people are more healthy, and they have a stronger immune system.

According to the British Organization of Dental Health, a smile has the level of stimulation as eating 2000 chocolate bars.

A smile does not cost you a cent, and it is easy to spread. A recent study showed that preschool children laugh 400 times a day, but the time we reach adulthood, we just laugh an average of 17 times per day.

So take the challenge and smile more often and find things in your lives that you can laugh about.

Stay great and healthy.

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