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Author's profile photo Jennifer Coleman

Changing Our Mind(set)

You didn’t come this far only to come this far.

I’m not an early talent nor on the doorstep to retirement. I’m fully entrenched in the midst of my professional career and every day brings me the choice to adapt, challenge my thought patterns and ultimately change my habits. 

I recently completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training certification program and through this process we were requested to keep a regular meditation practice of at least 10 minutes per day for 70 days. While I had a personal mindfulness practice for years it was not consistent. It started when I was going through many treatments for back pain and meditation distracted me from the pain. I benefited from it but I had framed it as a chore saying, “I need / have to meditate” as if it was another medication. My mindset was holding me back from transforming. When I started yoga teacher training I shifted my thoughts to “I want / get to meditate.” I created a mental shift that led to a solid habit that positively encouraged, rewarded and fulfilled me. Now, when planning meditation time in my day I get almost giddy at the opportunity to sit still and breathe … this coming from a high energy person.

How do we create a similar mental shift in how our organizations transform? Executing business strategy is all about change and transformation. Not just processes, structures and systems, but ultimately mindset and perspective. It’s not just about what we need to do to achieve our strategic goals, it’s also about how we need to do it. Fostering a change mindset starts with humanizing change for the individual, alongside the process and organizational changes.

Let’s be realistic. Many of us default to “the path of least resistance” and focus on the tools of change. We create presentations, complete assessments, develop communication plans, create engagement activities and then do our best to execute. According to a 2016 Deloitte Review article, Humanizing Change, “The PowerPoint approach to change undermines employees’ intrinsic drivers and psychological needs: Employees are treated as targets rather than participatory agents who help interpret and shape the change process.” What we often gloss over are the emotions of the people moving through the changes. It’s sticky to dive into emotions so we avoid it.

So let’s get messy. How do we create a change mindset that addresses emotions that can come alive within our change management processes and tools? We begin by asking ourselves:

  1. How can we be empathic for the human side of the changes and support our own selves through change?
  2. How can we engage more in the change instead of being bystanders or simply ‘implementers’?
  3. How can we be more open to collaborate on solution finding through the change?

The environment of the future is one where everyone leads change, every day, in their own individual way. To achieve this future we must shift from the easy to do change tasks to the more complex change activities. Focus on creating connection to the change at the individual level. Instill a sense of calm by supporting the individuals through the “messy middle” of the transition to provide a feeling of stability. Inspire courage to get involved and discover choice and opportunity in the change.

If we can truly embrace the human in the midst of the change we can cultivate a holistic change mindset, where we intentionally address change with empathy, create an environment of trust and opportunity with change, and build default habits for the entire organization to thrive.

Shifting my language as part of my meditation practice helped me to create a positive, impactful habit and sustainable change. What shift can you make to support a change mindset for yourself?

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      Author's profile photo Achim Töper
      Achim Töper

      congratulations Jennifer, that you managed to stay on track regarding your meditation daily practice. Thanks for sharing. Yoga, mindfulness and meditation are no longer only a business trend, but to my opinion key. Namasté, Achim.