On this journey to organizational change, we are still working our way through Robert E. Quinn’s book Deep Change which prepares us to make personal changes so we will be more successful in launching organizational changes. I recently focused on communicating with ourselves as a way of staying mindful and conscious of the choices that we are making in our lives. Talking with ourselves is a way to keep us grounded in our personal choices and helps us to grow into becoming more strategic leaders in all aspects of our lives.
After we have gotten accustomed to talking with ourselves, it’s now time to reach out to others in our quest for aligning the energy in our lives and being successful in growing our leadership skills.
We are now going to be reaching outside of our comfort zones and beginning to reshape the relationships around us. Start by thinking of a person who you have uncomfortable being around. You know what I mean…. The person that sends you the email that you dread reading or the person who is leading the meeting this afternoon and you are not looking forward to attending. Or it may be the person whose office is down the hall from you who you hope closes their door because they talk so loud and you really don’t want to listen to them all day. You know the person that I am speaking about. This is a relationship that is in some way sucking your creative energy. You are going to need that creative energy for the organizational changes you want to make and you cannot afford to be spending valuable energy thinking about how you would like to avoid a particular person. It is time to reach out and connect with that person in a new way. Time to engage with them to break the ice. Why is this important?
It is important because the people who tend to get under our skin the most are the people who are most different from us. We don’t know them very well. They have habits that you don’t understand. You don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts or feelings with them because you are not connected to them enough to feel safe making those levels of dialogues with them. Make sense? It’s time to connect with that person. It’s time to bring them into your circle a little bit. By bringing them into your circle you will be moving your relationship to a different level. When that relationship has a higher level of comfort, you will share a common space and feel comfortable talking about the issues that have been on your mind that are sucking up your energy. It’s time to break the ice. The important piece is to ensure that you are genuine! Phoniness will get you nowhere and may even put more space in the relationship than there already was.
Start with some basic connections like these:
- Send an email invitation to offer help on meeting preparation.
- Say hello or ask them how they are doing when you see them.
- A simple smile or nod of acknowledgement that wasn’t there before.
These are some very basic suggestions for people that you are really disconnected from. Once you have invited yourself into their space and they have welcomed you, then you can move to more advancements to improve the relationship. Remember that the goal is not to be best buddies with everyone in your workplace. But the goal is to get to know the people who you are connected with well enough so that you can eventually get to the point where you are not spending negative energy on them. This begins by us doing something differently.
“In our search for meaning and direction, we have a problem. Traditionally, our paradigms, myths, or scripts have told us what to do. They have helped organize our lives. Whenever we follow them, we feel safe. But today, our environment keeps changing. Because our environments are dynamic and our myths are based in the past, our strategies often fail, and we feel a sense of alienation. Increasingly, it becomes necessary for us to re-create our paradigms, myths, scripts or frameworks” (Quinn, 1996, p. 46).
We have old scripts about people who we work with. We need to redefine those scripts so that we can relate with them in a way that is new and fresh. In order to create these new scripts we need to get to know people in a different way. In order to get to know them in a different way, we need to change our behavior patterns. This will create a new you, which will create new relationships with others, which will lead to successful organizational change!
What communication will you have today with someone that will put you on the journey of reinventing that relationship?