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24 2011

How’s the Weather?

Syndicated from: Change Bytes

This weather we're having is crazy, isn't it? It seems like the whole world is being caught in tornados, hurricanes and floods of Biblical proportion. Here in Ontario, we've gone from freezing our petudies to flipping burgers on the Bar-B-Q overnight. Like they say, if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes.  The change in weather has brought with it changes in people's attitudes too. People that just a week ago were snarly and half-depressed are now gardening and riding bikes. So, why the sudden transformation? Aren't we all still the same people? Why has the change in our environment spawned such a dramatic uptick in enthusiasm?There's lots of research to suggest that environments have a huge impact on human behaviour. The green movement is a classic example of these principles; we impact our environments by how we behave, but our environments can impact what we believe, how we feel and ultimately what we do. Researchers found that simply moving chocolate from 'within arms reach' to six feet away decreased consumption by 50% and moving the tasty treat off the premises nearly extinguished the consumption all together. Serving your dinner on a 10-inch plate versus a 12-inch plate - will power aside - will decrease the amount you consume by a whopping 30%!We know that factors like negativity and family chaos profoundly impact a child's development and today's parents take great care to ensure their little bundles get just the right amount of stimuli and positive reward.So, how about employees? Could environmental factors affect how a change effort is implemented? Could something as simple as where someone sits, whom they report to, or the proximity of the water cooler effect whether they accept an IT implementation or not?I think it does, and in a big way. Just last week I was told by a mid manager that, she wasn't going to 'play nice' with the new leadership in her company because she'd been asking for a parking spot closer to the front entrance for two years, and because they 'don't care about my safety', she feels no need to get on board with the new leaders.I think there are three contextual factors that have a profound impact on how people accept and integrate change in their lives. The first is our physical environment; the people, temperature, mood, ergonomics, culture and colors that surround us, all influence how we feel about our world and our readiness to disrupt it. Something as simple as poor lighting, or a faulty desk chair, can contribute to people tuning out any new ideas coming their way.Another important influence on our readiness for change is our current circumstance. Our circumstance is made up our age and life stage, status, perceived opportunities, positional longevity, recent events, past change successes and failures and what we stand to loose when things change. The first 90 days of an executive's tenure are the most critical because his circumstances are unique in the honeymoon phase; he and his direct reports will view his demeanor and choices differently, and may allow and forgive in those first 90 days, in ways they won't later on.The last and most significant of the factors is our personal selves; it's our mental, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual health. Our personal well being impacts how much change we will tolerate; change looks a lot more doable when we're on top of our game, then if we're in the middle of an illness or are just going off on maternity leave. Savvy leaders need to be aware of, and capitalize on the factors governing people's readiness for disruption. To ignore these critical contextual factors when attempting to move a population through a transition is just foolish, so don't take chances. We have assessments that will help you determine the Change Readiness of your team or department.Remember, you can change it...we can help!

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