Introduction to The Transformation Journey
After our taste menu of Mindfulness Organizations, I guess you could be thinking, how do I start? The first thing is not to panic or want to do everything.
If you decide to approach the paradigm of Mindfulness Organizations or another that you like more, you should keep in mind that you are entering the world of change or transformation processes, and that these are progressive, iterative, and not predictable. When someone ask me: When does the transformation ends? I always reply: NEVER EVER.
The world is in continuous change, we are in continuous change, our cells are continually renewed, the universe is in continuous expansion … therefore, organizations also need to be in continuous change and transformation.
We should not think that a sustainable solution to all our issues or pains is to hire the fashion consultancy that with the new trends is going to transform magically the organization. Or that a great team coach is going to get high-performance teams after a few sessions … the same happens with a sustainable slender body, which is not achieved with a machine or a diet, but with daily habits of good nutrition, sport, mental calm, happiness, etc.
So, the bad news is that it is not fast and there is no secret formula. The good news is that very good results can be achieved by acquiring new simple habits throughout the organization and then transforming itself, acquiring change as part of its DNA. You can see an example in this interview between Goleman (Emotional Intelligent Creator and Expert) and Greg Massey (CEO of First United Bank).
We need to bear in mind that no matter how much people say they like changes, it is not true, in general a change means leaving the comfort zone and that always generates stress and discomfort, our brain reacts as if there was a danger, with a lot of biochemical reactions that now I will not go into. Therefore, it is so important to facilitate changes and have these skills always present in the teams.
It is not necessary that we have a perennial consultant in each team, but each team needs to acquire a new skill that is the facilitation of change, so they can evolve without help, it is like when you introduce any new habit in your life, it needs practice and perseverance, but then we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
I love, because I have applied it repeatedly, to focus the changes with “the virus model» approach (maybe nowadays is not a good metaphor…but I think it is very useful). That is, you start doing something different and then you tell everyone about it, and you “make noise” to show it. At the same time, those who you told it to, they tell it to others, and the most curious want to try, and once the results are seen… it is unstoppable! All infected!
To give you a little more structure, I will tell you the elements that are important to me when you are considering starting your journey of transformation in your organization or team.
1. Plan your trip
The first thing to do is to choose your final destination, that is, what you want to achieve in the long term and see what stops you have to make along the way.
It would be very interesting if you ask yourself questions like:
• Why do you want to go there?
• What motivates your trip?
• What would it be like to be there?
• How are people, the teams, the way of working, the culture there?
• How will you know you have arrived?
You can define for your change process the purpose, vision, mission and values that will accompany you.
Study the terrain
A destination can be very captivating, as well as the trip itself, but you need to know well what you are going to find to avoid surprises, that is:
• Who will be the sponsors?
• Who are the key stakeholders?
• What resistances are we going to have?
• Followers we can have
• How is the maturity of the teams?
• And very important, if you are going to lead the change, how are you? These processes consume a lot of energy, and you have to be strong so as not to get hurt along the way. This is as if you decide to give up smoking when you have been fired from work, or you have separated from your partner … well, the chances of success are lower.
Choose your travel colleagues
My advice is always to surround yourself with good travel colleagues, and although I stronly believe that transformations must be led from within the organization, it is also true that there are fantastic consulting professionals who can accompany you and make the journey easier, quicker and more sustainable.
Don’t lose focus
And when there are difficulties, return to the eye of the hurricane, to your purpose / destination. From here you will make the appropriate decisions.
Create your roadmap
We already know that changes are neither planned nor managed, they are facilitated. But it is true that a roadmap is needed for avoiding to get lost in the forest, so create your roadmap and be flexible if you have to modify it.
2. What to take in the suitcase?
A lot of patience
Times in organizations, and especially if they are large organizations, are measured in years. So don’t despair, use that famous phrase «think big, start small.» And I would add applying «the virus model«.
Lots of energy
It is usual, in any change process, to find yourself with skepticism, resistance, discomfort … and all that is not necessarily bad, it is simply a travel colleague that you did not choose, but it is always there.
I always say that every crisis (and now I add, every conflict and uncomfortable emotion) is a great opportunity, and as such you have to experience it, but measure your energy because you will need to recharge.
Sometimes things don’t go the way you imagined, but there are many ways to get to the same destination. Use feedback to adjust.
Changes and Transformation are a bit «abstract», we need to be able to quantify the value of the change, so you need a meter and know how you are going to measure as-is and to-be.
3. Enjoy the trip
It is important to enjoy the trip, learn, experiment. Live it as a great adventure, because of it is.
It is going to mean incredible personal and professional growth for you and everyone who is part of it. After each transformation process that I have led, I am no longer the same person, believe me.
As I said before, start small because once you sow the seed, the plant will grow only with a little watering, and that plant will create other seeds that in turn will become other plants, and so on until creating a forest.
And if you take stock and it has made you happy, it is that you have achieved the objective. The trip will have been worth it and you will never forget it.