Make Change Less ScaryToday is Hallows’ Evening or Halloween. Many believe Halloween traditions came from ancient Celtic harvest festivals. Today little ghosts and goblins harvest treats at neighborhood doorsteps.

Halloween is frightening images, blood curdling sounds, and creepy creatures. This can be positive fun and enjoyable when not taken too seriously. Or it can be darkly negative and terrifying.

Workplace and other changes can also be fun or terrifying. It depends on our perspective.

Psychologist, McGill professor, and corporate coach, Zina Suissa, interviewed me on Navigating Change in the Workplace. Her research and thoughtful questions made our conversation fly by faster than a speeding spook. Unfortunately, gremlins crept into my computer and played a few tricks to reduce audio/video quality.

Here are some of the points we covered with links if you’d like to explore further:

What creates resistance to change?

  • It’s often how we’re wired or how we’ve acquired our framework for looking at the world. It’s too easy to envision negative consequences of change and see it as a loss. That can create resistance. Learning how to dispute and challenge negative beliefs point us toward what’s positive and possible.

How can we help people make change?

  • Envisioning possibilities is a good beginning point to overshadow pessimistic views of the future. Research on positivity shows the importance of focusing on the strengths we can use, and taking a more optimistic approach to the change.

You’ve written about modes and patterns of thinking in the face of change and adversity; victim, survivor, and navigator.

  • I’ve evolved those further to leading, following, and wallowing. A navigator on the high seas can’t control the wind or waves. When we’re navigating, we’re leading, initiating, making things happen, and looking at possibilities. The middle mode is where we’re waiting, hanging in there, following, and waiting for direction. The third mode is the most dangerous. Here we’re wallowing. This is where we feel victimized, don’t have control, think, or “they” are out to get us. We wallow in all that’s wrong, and ride the bitter bus down helpless highway right into Pity City.

Can we move people from Pity City to survivor or leader/navigator mode?

  • There’s lots of evidence we can with reframing. Step one is thinking about our thinking, and being aware of the mode we’re in. Step two is focusing on what we need to do in order to shift that thinking. For some, it’s visioning, looking at possibilities, or leveraging strengths. For others, it might be inspirational quotes, biographies, stories, etc. We need to find the approaches that will shift our thinking.

What’s in store for you in your future?

  • Despite hundreds of thousands of books on leadership, I feel like I can contribute something more. Rather than my previous approach of bringing models and approaches to my readers in my books, I am “readersourcing” to get input from a wide number of readers and researchers on the key topics today. We’re using an iterative process with a Book Advisory Panel helping to guide what approaches are most useful and relevant today in a mutual learning process.

Click here to watch the 11 minute interview.

So what’s your hocus focus? Witch way are you looking at menacing change?  Are you creating a horror movie or making change boo-tiful?