Team Solutions: Achieving Change … Gently

Changing habits, behaviors and patterns is not quick or easy. Nine out of 10 men shave their faces in the same patterns every day, and most of them are not even aware of it. Even small habits shape patterns that create certain outcomes. Change is often a challenging process. Gentle change also is challenging; however, gentle change is also different.

Gentle change provides people with clarity to understand the process, and trust in the people with whom you are working. Gentle change is a clearly defined guided process that begins with awareness of existing patterns with the individual and the organization. To change a pattern is difficult for most people. That is why people must feel included in the process of change. This helps people contribute to the greater purpose of the group to work together. People must be included in the process of growth through enrichment because people make the system perform.

Gentle change is designed to enrich the organizational life of a corporate culture. We accomplish this through leadership enrichment and team learning. We evaluate and clarify core values. This forward movement provides positive energy to remove obstacles that help to create organizational alignment.

The focus needs to be on healthy, organic growth, and be based on a full understanding of people and systems. Both are interconnected, dynamic environments. Safe pathways need to be created where people can connect deeply with others to cultivate synergy that stimulates forward movement. People and processes must have synergy to create organizational alignment. We focus on the intangibles of team building by developing the people before we focus on the tangibles of best practices.

Organic relational growth processes result in incremental organizational growth that result in macro changes. Change most simply defined is the progressive realization of a new state of being. Change will manifest itself in different behaviors, habits and patterns. New patterns of behavior focused on desired outcomes produce synergy of effort. This synergy is associated with performance metrics and output.

People also can restrict forward movement and growth that can limit the potential of a group. Individual enrichment and leadership development removes invisible barriers that have blocked people from the next level of growth. People need to understand their core values and motivations which are critical in understanding the process of change. Core values are solidified by habits and patterns that are repeated over a long period of time; when they are practiced repeatedly, it creates a corporate culture. Therefore, cultural diagnosis must be implemented before a change in process can be effectively initiated. We examine individual’s core values as well as corporate culture, and evaluate the disparity or congruency of habits and patterns and compare them to core values. The disparity often reveals obstacles. Gentle change is a process that clarifies core values and then removes obstacles that lead to healthy team performance and organizational alignment.

Gentle change is the recognition that change is occurring invisibly all the time. The weather changes every day. The atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature change many times per day. Our bodies change every minute. The evening news is different than the morning news. Change is a process that is occurring all the time. Change is natural, normal and is most often beneficial. All growth requires change. Most people are in favor of growth and progress but resist change. This is normal and predictable and most often is caused by lack of understanding, lack of trust or hidden fears of not feeling safe in the process of change.

So why is change misunderstood, resisted or avoided? Change within people requires recalibration of thoughts, habits, and patterns of life and work. Most people are in favor of progress but not always in favor of change. Why is this true? Change is difficult because there often is not clarity of what benefits change will provide. Change is challenging because change is resisted on multiple levels that create obstacles that prevent change. Change within groups of people requires new connections, a common language and a sense of belonging and meaning. Gentle change occurs in environments that have clear processes, deep trust, functional relationships and open communication. Most change does not occur instantly. Change is a process that occurs over time. Change is not an event because change requires the change of mindsets, habits and attitudes. Change is most difficult among groups of people. The larger the size of the group the slower the rate that changes will occur.

If change is an essential component of growth why is change resisted? All growth requires change yet people resist it. At times, people fear change, avoid it and sometimes fight it. Change redefines people’s habits and routines and often causes a different expectation for a new pattern of behavior. Changing patterns are often seen as an inconvenience. People do not want to be inconvenienced because time and energy are such precious commodities.

On a much deeper level, people interpret change as rejection and interpret change personally. People have difficulty in separating themselves from change that is needed. The emotional reaction can interpret change as personal condemnation. Human behavior is predictable and often takes the path of least resistance to maintain homeostasis. This is why sudden change is often met with a shock reaction at a more primal level. This reaction is much more visceral than intellectual and is much deeper on an emotional level than has been previously understood. Radical change or sudden change can cause fear. Gentle change allows people to have agency within the process of growth that is needed for progress to occur. Gentle change is a process that deals with the primal forces as well as the best practices of the change process.

Change is a fact of life, to live be changed. The question must be asked: How will you react? The question is not whether change will occur: it already has and even now is occurring as you are reading this sentence. The deeper issue is how you will respond to change?

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