Tips to maintain your energy for change

I had the very great pleasure of working with a large group of CFOs this week, who are coping with some gnarly transformational changes in their organisations.  We were looking at how to lead change so that it sustains.  We were looking for tips to maintain your energy for change.

In one session, we considered how people move through the change curve – from everything being okay, through denial once a major change is announced, into a confused state as we work through what the change means for us and finally towards renewal.  This follows Claes Janssen’s simplified change (curve) model – the Four Rooms of Change – Contentment, Denial, Confusion, Renewal.

The four rooms of change

I invited the group to come up with their own words to define each of these ‘Rooms’ in which we live; each of these four states of mind.  States of mind that everyone goes through when working through change.  Here’s some of their thinking:

  • Contentment – confident, creative, cerebral, fun, sociable
  • Denial – stubborn, apathetic, intense
  • Confusion – unpredictable, lonely, narcissistic, moody
  • Renewal – individual, free-spirited, kind, enthusiastic, spiritual, rational

It strikes me that leading change starts on the inside.  We all react to change when it happens to us from the outside-in.  Learning to recognise our own emotional response means we can make more active choices in how to respond, rather than react.  How we can maintain our own energy for change, so we can help others cope with it too.  How we can internalise the change, so we work with it from the inside-out.  This, I believe, makes us better change leaders.

The way we are working is not working

It also reminds us of the words that describe working in different zones we operate in as described by Tony Schwartz in The Way We work Isn’t Working.  Schwartz suggests we work in one of four zones:

  • The Performance Zone, when our energy and activity is high, and we feel optimistic
  • The Survival Zone, when our energy and activity are high, but we are running around doing so much. In this Zone, our emotional state is negative, we become pessimistic about work, we retreat into silos, protecting ourselves from the outside world.  We are just about surviving
  • The Burnout Zone, when our energy drops too and it all becomes too much
  • The Recovery[1] Zone, when we find time to recover from the pressures of work, energy remains low (we are recovering after all), however we regain our optimism, and become ready to move back to the Performance Zone.

So, what?

I suspect these two models are saying very similar things.  Here they are overlaid onto one another:

When the pace of work and change becomes too much, our performance slips, we can find ourselves operating in the Survival Zone.  This is like the Room of Confusion, we might find ourselves feeling lonely or moody.  We may become narcissistic and unpredictable.  We might also stumble through the doorway to Room of Denial and become apathetic, appearing to others as stubborn or intense.  These are the signs we are moving towards the Burnout Zone.

The trick is to find ways to move freely between the Performance Zone and the Recovery Zone, so that we remain optimistic and enthusiastic, whilst slowing our energy and activity to recover, and then using our renewed energy to keep our performance high.

And so, the question becomes: what can you do to maintain your energy for change?  To find time in your routine to recover from the pressures of work – where the pace of change is ever-increasing – and keep your performance high?

Three tips to maintain your energy for change:

  1. Find your own words to describe the four Rooms or Zones. Then, notice when you are feeling that way, it is probably an indication you are already in that Zone, or moving towards it
  2. Work out what renews your energy – this might be mindful meditation, sport or exercise, social activities, hobbies or clubs. At work, it might simply be finding time to leave your desk and go for a walk or have your lunch with others away from the office.  It might be finding time to #JustBe.  Outside of work it might be reading, listening to or playing music, painting or simply have a long soak in a hot bath.  This tip helps you discover your own Recovery Zone.
  3. Mindfully choose to spend time in your Recovery Zone. Schedule it in your diary if needs be.  For example, I have time blocked out in my diary entitled #JustBe.

You might find you start to spot the signs of the Survival Zone or Burnout Zone in others.  If so, you might want to encourage them to think about their own Recovery Zone.  You should also find you can spot the signs of the Performance Zone or the Recovery Zone in others and choose to celebrate their achievement!

 

Jeremy J Lewis

Committed to making a difference in leading sustainable change

[1] Schwartz calls it the Renewal Zone.  I have changed the name so that it does not become confusing when comparing with the Four Rooms of Change model

Street Wisdom at Leeds Wellbeing Week, March 24, 2018 – FREE (booking essential)

Discover the wisdom of the streets

We are running Street Wisdom at Leeds Wellbeing Week, March 24, 2018 – FREE (booking essential)

“[People] must necessarily be the active agents of their own well-being and well-doing… they themselves must in the very nature of things be their own best helpers.”

–      Samuel Smiles, author of Self Help , 1859

What is the purpose of being if not to discover truths and insights that are obscured by day-to-day concerns?  Street Wisdom gives participants the skills to see the urban environment in a new way, ask a question and use the answers they discover to move forwards in life with a greater sense of wellbeing.

“The concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self-actualizing, fully human person seem to be coming closer and closer together and may perhaps turn out to be the same thing”

–      Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

What is the purpose of being if not to be happy and inspired in our own lives?  Street Wisdom is a global, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to bring inspiration to every street on earth.

“Recognising that you are not where you want to be is a starting point to begin changing your life”

–      Deborah Day, Author of Be Happy Now, 2010

Led by Jeremy Lewis, an experienced coach and professional Street Wizard, Street Wisdom will enable you to find inspiration by wandering through the City’s streets.  Why wait for escape to exotic destinations when inspiration can be found on your own doorstep? Street Wisdom shows you how.

How it works

It’s very simple – that’s because Street Wisdom have been refining the process for years.

Tune Up. Quest. Share.

  1. First, your Street Guide helps you and your group tune up your senses so you can pick up much more information from the urban environment that you would normally.
  2. Then you’re off on a journey by yourself – your street quest – where you ask a question and see what answers present themselves.
  3. Finally, you gather together again to share what happened and, more often than not, wonder at how magical an ordinary street can become when you’re really aware of those hidden messages, chance meetings and unexpected discoveries.

 

The whole event lasts three hours.  Meet on the steps of Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, at 13:00.

Book now

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/street-wisdom-at-leedswellbeingweek-tickets-42527718551

http://streetwisdom.org               www.leedswellbeingweek.co.uk

Robots versus humans: the battle for leading the future of work

Book review: Conquering Digital Overload, edited by Peter Thomson, author of Future Work and Director of Wisework, the leading authority on the Future of Work

Conquering Digital Overload is a fascinating inquiry into the stress caused by digital technology on businesses and society at large and provides some practical tips for leaders to navigate the new digital landscape.  It suggests we are drowning in the new ‘always on’ technology that pervades modern life and that for governments and businesses, this is not simply an ICT issue, but rather an issue that goes to the core of what it means to be a leader.

With useful research findings on the effects of digital technology, the book examines the impact it has on every facet of our lives, surfaces the anxiety and stress caused by digital overload and highlights the effects on core activities that were once the preserve of human leaders – providing support, focusing on results, seeking different perspectives and solving problems.  Thomson and his 15 co-authors explain how the digital revolution is stripping away the need for expert human leadership.  When the internet can provide knowledge and empower groups of people to find their voice, they ask, what is the need for human leaders?  They go on to suggest expert human leadership is needed to prevent the tyranny of crowds making populist and yet poor decisions.  And to preserve the health and wellbeing of organisations.

We can’t expect governments to regulate effectively.  And so – if not you, then who will navigate the complexity of leading an artificially intelligent workforce?

Jeremy J Lewis

Committed to making a difference in developing leaders

January 16, 2018

Discover the wisdom of the streets

Street Wisdom, November 4, Leeds, FREE, booking essential

Discover the wisdom of the streets

“[People] must necessarily be the active agents of their own well-being and well-doing… they themselves must in the very nature of things be their own best helpers.”

–      Samuel Smiles, author of Self Help , 1859

 

What is the purpose of being if not to discover truths and insights that are obscured by day-to-day concerns?  Street Wisdom gives participants the skills to see the urban environment in a new way, ask a question and use the answers they discover to move forwards in life with a greater sense of wellbeing.

“The concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self-actualizing, fully human person seem to be coming closer and closer together and may perhaps turn out to be the same thing”

–      Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

 

What is the purpose of being if not to be happy and inspired in our own lives?  Street Wisdom is a global, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to bring inspiration to every street on earth.

“Recognising that you are not where you want to be is a starting point to begin changing your life”

–      Deborah Day, Author of Be Happy Now, 2010

 

Led by Jeremy Lewis, an experienced coach and professional Street Wizard, Street Wisdom will enable you to find inspiration by wandering through the City’s streets.  Why wait for escape to exotic destinations when inspiration can be found on your own doorstep? Street Wisdom shows you how.

Book now for FREE.