This is a guest post by Steve Armstrong.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, that’s why you should do different activities that provide opportunities for a positive change. And here is an excellent example to do with your team…
How to use this material and start a positive change:
- Discuss. Remind. Encourage.
- That’s my recommended approach to helping people commit and develop towards positive change.
- I recommend reading and discussing the first three articles with your team and repeat weekly.
- Each can be read in less than three minutes and discussed in 10 to 15 minutes.
How to prepare:
- Share one of the articles with your team and schedule a time for discussion.
- Or share the guide with your department leaders and have them facilitate smaller discussions.
- Ask everyone to read the discussion article.
- Ask them to make notes on anything they find valuable or disagree with. If you prefer, give them some questions about the material for ideas and ask them to provide some advanced thought.
- On your own, read the article, make your notes, and answer the questions you intend to ask or give.
- Give some quick thought to any likely objections or challenges to the material you can anticipate from your group. (Who might ask what and how do you want to respond?)
- Introduce your upcoming discussions in person or by email. Feel free to use the following as a suggested script to edit to fit your style:
“I came across a few short articles that significantly impacted me. I thought we all might benefit from reading and discussing them over the next few weeks – one each week.
“Each article can be read in less than three minutes. Please read the first one and give some advanced thought to it. Make notes on anything that connects with you.
“Let’s kick off next week strong and meet in the conference room Monday morning at 8:00 for 20 minutes, at most.
“I think the effort will be good for our work, but it also might be helpful to each of us personally.”
- Be enthusiastic.
- Avoid interrupting or finishing someone’s thoughts or answers.
- Add a small gap of silence to an answer – just a beat or two. This may allow someone to expand on something and avoid someone feeling that they need to rush through their answers.
- When you feel someone might have more value to add, encourage them with a “What do you mean, Nancy?” or “Can you expand on that?” or “What happened next?”
- Invite different people to contribute to the discussion or have other people lead the talks each week.
- Be ready to help the discussion move on if someone takes too much control of it. (“Good point, Bob. If we have time in the end, let’s come back to this.”)
Discussion #1: Slippery Moments & Quiet Quitting
The Gallup organization says that in North America, roughly:
- 29% of us are engaged and care about our work
- 54% of us are just “Going Through the Motions”
- 17% are “Disgruntled” and get in the way of those who care
Of course, we all have moments when we are not working at our best, but the “Going Through the Motions” people or those who have “Quietly Quit” are challenging to deal with. Dealing with the “Going Through the Motions” or “Disgruntled” can be slippery and trip you up.
Slippery Moments Discussion Questions:
- How do you think the numbers from Gallup stand up here?
- What are some typical examples of moments we see here?
- What are the consequences for our customers/ourselves?
- What are your thoughts on the problem?
- What are a few specific things we could start doing today to make those “Going Through the Motions” or “Disgruntled” moments less frequent? What else?
Discussion #2: Distraction Diet
Imagine the incredible positive changes you’d have if you focused more during your day. You could:
- Contribute more
- Serve people better (internally and externally)
- Come up with more ideas
- Waste less time ramping back up
- Create more opportunities
- Plan better
- Be less frustrated and stressed
Five ways positive change and to knock out the bulk of distractions:
- Establish focus hours for yourself. Set aside time each day when you’ll be unavailable for anything but true emergencies. If you can, commit to no inter-office communications during focus hours unless it genuinely can’t wait. No small talk. No “Hey… just a sec” interruptions.
- Turn off email alerts and commit to checking them at the most minimal level you feel is possible without harming service to others.
- Turn off chat and messaging apps (personal and team) unless your work requires it to get the job done.
- Avoid the web during your money hours (hours of the workday where you make good things happen) unless you need it for your work. The distractions are endlessly pleasant for those who’d prefer to avoid making good things happen (not your goal).
- Face away from distractions if you’re in a setting that allows you to do so.
Distraction Diet Discussion Questions:
- What are the most valuable of the five ideas for us? The least valuable? Why? Why not?
- What impact can our distraction have on our customers/colleagues?
- What are some other ideas we could do to improve?
- If we gave out an award to the most focused person on our team/department, who would win it? Why?
- How can we help each other when we slip? What kind of agreement can we make to stay committed to better focus?
“The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions. The door that slams shut, the plan that got sidetracked, the marriage that failed. Or that lovely poem that didn’t get written because someone knocked on the door.” ~ MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (1929 – 1968)
Discussion #3: Do as I say, not as I do.
Given that most of us can’t get it right all the time, is it just more good advice?
- Someone suggests you be more approachable to invite opportunity and better relationships, but you hide behind your desk.
- Is the advice wrong if a boss is not patient or thankful but suggests that you should be?
When I find myself indulging in being grumpy, I’ve found it helpful to remember four things:
- I’m a grown-up.
- It’s not about me.
- I won’t be here forever.
- I want to make good things happen for others (which, in turn, will make good things happen for me).
Do as I Say Discussion Questions:
- What connected most with you from the article? Why?
- Why do you think someone’s hypocrisy makes it easier for us to disregard their advice?
- What does “Go first … and stay with it” mean?
- How do you think we can better minimize our occasional negative moods?
- What would you add or revise to overcome grumpiness?
It’s always the leader.
- We try to hire the right people. We do our best to develop, grow those people and guide them to positive change.
- But we get busy and stop listening. Take a few moments each month to use these questions to prompt a conversation.
- You will be surprised, even shocked, with what you will learn.
About the Author
Steve Armstrong is a Calgary based speaker, educator consultant and leadership expert who works with technically & intellectually brilliant leaders who were never taught how to deal with people or who find themselves frustrated by not hitting their goals because of people issues. He is an expert at developing followers into leaders and building dedicated, loyal, and remarkable teams through the lessons learned from 35 years as a leader, soldier, and humanitarian. Steve’s has honed his insights and leadership skills and his unique ability to inspire and teach others to lead. He is one of only a handful of people in Canada who has planned and managed the relief & recovery responses and maintained complex business continuity functions after numerous natural and manmade disasters, and if ever there was a crucible for forging leadership — a crisis would be it.
Steve, a man who instigated positive change for people who needed another focus. All a professional, with a Masters Degree in Public Policy & Management and is the author of You Can’t Lead From Behind: What I Learned in Combat About Leadership, People, and Profit.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about how to create a lifetime of positive change .
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success