Managing change: How to make it work

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Written by Jodie Rogers on 3 September 2021 in Features
Features

Change starts with people. Author Jodie Rogers looks at how to get more from your people in challenging times.

It's one thing to adapt processes and systems, and another to reshape the humans who power them. Yet 'people power' is the starting point for all organisational change. The more resilient your employees are, the better equipped they will be smoothly transition from the old to the new without unnecessary confusion and disruption.

How do you increase your people's change management capacity and increase their performance, creativity and wellbeing while boosting your bottom line? Through mental fitness training. If you don't address the human in the room, your organisational transformation is headed straight for the bin.

Let's explore how you can prevent transformation fails and harness the potential of mental fitness for your organisation.

Understand the ROI of resilience

Despite abundant evidence that mental fitness boosts bottom lines, organisational obstacles to investing in workplace mental health continue to block progress. Leaders who grasp the importance of mental fitness must learn to quantify its benefits to businesses. 

Investing in a mentally fit workforce not only makes good business sense, but is fundamental to success. 

If you don't address the human in the room, your organisational transformation is headed straight for the bin.

Leverage the inner game

To transform a business to be fit for the future, companies have to recognise an untapped, largely unrecognised resource in each of their people – the inner game. This 'game' is powerful and holds even greater potential when tapped across teams, because it is the sum total of the emotions, thoughts and mindsets of all the company's decision-makers.

Training each employee to tap into this inner energy is the key to enabling the best performance. As we have already seen, that positively impacts the bottom line. 

This is the mindset we adopt when we move away from the traditional notion of mental health toward the concept of mental fitness. The discussion is no longer about curing illness, but about maximising health.

We no longer think in terms of the cost of doing nothing, but focus instead on the benefits of doing something. If we invest in enhancing the mental fitness of our workforce, the benefits to our organisation and the global economy are truly off the charts.

Nurture mental resilience

Building resilience in your teams is fundamental in getting them equipped to deal with mounting disruptions and pressure. But many people have a misconception of what it means to be resilient.

Most people think being resilient is the ability not to be affected by the change. People think of resilience as putting on a suit of armour and becoming impenetrable. Real resilience, however, is very different. Resilience is understanding that there is a problem and that you are affected, but that you are able to bounce back, adjust, and be creative in how you learn to adapt.

At work and in life, resilience does not mean being a robot. Rather, it's about responding positively despite adversity – learning to step back from the problem and reconfigure it. When you let your prefrontal cortex come back, self-soothe, and self-regulate, you create space to clear your mind and allow creative solutions to come into view.

By doing this, you can train your teams to bounce back from problems faster and more effectively.

Embrace uncertainty

We could all benefit from steering our mindset towards greater adaptability and resilience in the face of change. But this is no easy task. The challenge with change isnt the change itself, but our human response to it.

The problem is the human tendency to resist change because it breeds uncertainty.

Manage resistance

In times of uncertainty, hesitation abounds and triggers our survival instincts. Thousands of years ago, a moment's hesitation was all it took to be killed by a predator. The 'reptile brain' is alive and well in us today – we feel its influence every time our amygdala kicks us into 'fight or flight' mode. Basically, our brains loathe change.

The good news? We can overcome this.

We can create new neural pathways in our brain that override that fear and resistance. We can learn to embrace change rather than run from it. That's what makes change so powerful and why mental resilience is essential to teams' success.

Engage your organisation

Change starts with people, and so do the teams that make up your company. If you truly want transformation, show your people that you mean business. Start training them across your organisation to build resilience and manage change.

A mind, after all, is a terrible thing to waste – and so is your team's untapped potential.

 

About the author

Jodie Rogers is a human behaviour consultant, founder of Symbia and author of  The Hidden Edge: Why Mental Fitness is the Only Advantage That Matters in Business.

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