Category Archives: Growth & Change

Guilt is Good

Have a look at a great video clip from NLP master trainer Steve Andreas about guilt.

He gives us some really good reframing: If I’m feeling  guilty about something rude I said, I can ask myself “in the moment what was more important – speaking up or being nice?  If I acknowledge that I’ve chosen speaking up for myself as more important, then I must be a person who lives my values.”

So I’ve reframed the thought of violating a value in order to satisfy another value to mean I am a person who lives my values.  Nice.   It’s counterintuitive – an interesting benefit of guilt.

If I”m feeling really guilty about not “being nice” then that means that value is also really important to me.  So a values clash can help to clarify what’s important to me. Another benefit of guilt.

Maybe I haven’t learned how to achieve both together yet, but by knowing that both values are important, I can choose to make amends, to show that I’m also ‘nice’.  And using ‘intelligent regret’, I can reflect on my behaviour and choose to do something different in the future that combines both values.  This gives me problem to solve rather than wallowing in embarrassment. That’s a third benefit of guilt.

In conclusion, guilt is good.  Especially if you do something different as a result of it.

Thanks Steve – very helpful.

FOMO Moments – Missing out or Conking out

FOMO – the fear of missing out. Many thanks to Tim Ferriss for the perfect acronym.

I’ve just started a really amazing course and am really wanting to do another great course at the same time. In my heart I know I cannot do them both justice but I’ve been suffering from a FOMO moment – what if I never get the chance again to do the second course? I love that Tim named and crystallised the issue for me!

Choosing is really hard when there are two seemingly equally appealing opportunities, both of which I think will be really beneficial.  But if I look really carefully at the FOMO, it’s really a combination of a number of fears, which I can name and then address.

There is a genuine fear of missing the opportunity to learn a new technology that is very exciting – as they may not be accrediting people next year, but I can live with that risk. There’s a fear of paying more – the price is going up quite a lot – but it’s only money, I will just have to work a bit harder to pay it off.  There’s a fear of dinting my reputation for ‘keeping my word’ – I’ve said I’d like to do the course, so my friend and the person running the course may now think my word is not reliable – but that means I will need to talk to both of them and explain what’s going on. There’s also a fear of letting my friend down – we were going to buddy up, which would be helpful to both of us – so again I will need to talk with her, but I think she would understand.

Now on the flip side there must be a good acronym for the consequences of saying yes COSY or the consequences of not choosing karefully CONCK as in conking out because I cannot get it all done.

Hmmm. Love to know what you do to address FOMO and how you deal with CONCKing?


Strengthen that will power muscle

Discipline, will power and self-regulation are loaded terms at this time of year, when we are torn between letting ourselves go and enjoying ourselves or staying on the straight and narrow.  Here are 8 practical and research-based tips from Tim Psychyl for strenghtening your will-power muscles so that you can have the kind of year that is both satisfying and enjoyable.

Best wishes to all for a ‘restive’ festive season.

Getting ourselves and others to change

This article by Morten T. Hansen from the HBR blog – Ten Ways to get people to change – is a great summary of ten ways to get ourselves and others to change.  Enjoy the variety of options, then follow Hansen’s first point and choose just one thing to change now.

The sequencing I’ve found most useful contains six of the ten points: create an emotionally appealing image and story of the future with that new behaviour; find out the danger points – when I’m most likely to succumb to old; create a new pattern – something I will do instead; tell an advocate to whom I don’t want to say I’ve failed; make progress visible – I use a 30 day habit change chart with smiley faces for successful days; and reward myself – find a positive factor or reward for sticking with the new behaviour (in addition to the rewards of the behaviour).

Complementarity – what it means for organizational change

In my research into sustainable leadership practices, I have come across some helpful research on “complementarity”, which may provide both an answer to the question of “why does it seem so hard for the average organisation to change?” and potential guidance for organisations who do attempt to make a  change, especially a change to being a sustainable organisation.

I first came across the idea courtesy of John Roberts and the Modern Firm and am now perusing the supporting literature.

The essence of the academic idea of complementarity is that variables (in this case organisational performance variables) are complements when “doing (more of) one of them increases the returns of doing (more of) the other” (Roberts, 2004, p34).

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Grow, develop, change …what’s in a word?

For a while now I have been testing the word “grow” as an alternative to “change”.  I know I have an aversion to being asked to “change” and even the phrase “I want to change the behaviour of my people” indicates that change is forced choice.

Contrast this with the phrase “I want to grow the behaviour of my people” and there seem to be many more choices available.

I will be exploring this with managers over the next few weeks and will be interested in their and your feedback.

Why grow a Growth mindset?

I read education researcher Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset over the break and the message is intriguing –  our mindsets are self-fulfilling prophecies. If I have a “growth mindset”, I believe that I have the capacity to learn and grow and develop, so I will look for every opportunity to do so.  If, on the other hand I have a “fixed mindset”, I believe that I have a fixed amount of intelligence, social skills, street smarts, influence.   “I’ve either got it or I haven’t”, so I will give up on new skills if I don’t learn them quickly and easily.

This solves a riddle I have noticed in my workshops, where those who are good at something, often want to learn more, while those who aren’t skilled often spend much of their time telling me how they can’t change and how what I am explaining won’t work for them, or it didn’t work the first time they tried it.  This has been a tragedy because what I (Sharon) am very good at is breaking down managerial and social skills into their components so that they can be learned and applied and equally Paul is great at explaining how people can organise their electronic workspaces with practical examples that can be applied immediately.

Now it makes sense, if clients have a fixed mindset and have decided they are not good at the skillset, then the conversation in their head will constantly revert back to “what’s the point trying to learn something that I’m not good at because if I was good at it I would be able to do it already?”  In fact this little phrase “what’s the point?” is my hint that I am dealing with someone who has a fixed mindset.

Dweck’s book is aimed mostly at teachers and parents and it spreads the good news that we can grow fixed mindsets into growth mindsets.  A number of researchers, including Australian Robert Wood and Americans  Peter Heslin and colleagues have taken her theories and applied them to management and particularly to performance management and appraisals.

Next week we will discuss how you can grow a mindset in yourself and others.  In the meantime, make a list of at least 10 things you have learned to do well and put an asterisk beside any of the items where you remember a time when you had no skill in that area and it was frustrating (compared to other things on the list you learned easily and quickly).

Collective resonance – a corporate example

Yesterday, a series of links led me to The Resonance Project website and Renee Levi’s research into experiences of collective resonance. I was very impressed by the story from Tex Gunning, who was President of Unilever Bestfoods Asia at the time and who had been assembling his country leaders in retreat settings through events called Outbreaks “to build community, create purposeful business strategy and goals, and make a difference in the world”. Tex”s sense was that they were creating collective resonance and the story shows the difference this makes when a group of people have a purpose beyond pure profit making. It also makes sense of the recent Dove “pro-age” campaign – which uses real life models – not those 8 supermodels!

Have a read and if you have an experience of collective resonance – Renee and the Resonance Project would love you to submit your story and so would we.

If, like me, you are also interested in finding out more about Tex Gunning,

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Do what you love and the money will follow! …. but when?

I know a colleague who is undergoing a mid life career change. We are both familiar with the phrase “do what you love and the money will follow”. We discussed silent issue that this statement doesn’t address – the fact / fear that between the doing and flowing, there can be a gap of many months or even years. For a solo person, who don’t have a working partner or financially supportive family, or existing capital, this can make a career change dangerous if the income dries up in the transition.

In a similar vein I’ve recently had conversations with Uni colleagues about choosing research topics based initially on “market attractiveness” and less on passion, but then changing topics because the passion is what sees us through the long grind of research projects and we have to trust that at the end there is some interest in our expertise.

Along with passion, I keep noticing the power of a supportive environment. Continue reading