You’ve Changed! Why Didn’t Anyone Notice?

You've ChangedAn article by Marshall Goldsmith

Shared by Andrew Cooke, Blue Sky GPS

It’s much harder to change others’ perceptions of our behavior than it is to change our own behavior. People’s perceptions of us are formed when they observe a sequence of actions we take that resemble one another. When other people see a pattern of resemblance, that’s when they start forming their perceptions of us.

For example, one day you’re asked to make a presentation in a meeting. Speaking in public may be the greatest fear among adults, but in this instance you don’t choke or crumble. You give a great presentation, magically emerging as someone who can stand up in front of people and be commanding, knowledgeable, and articulate. Everyone in attendance is impressed. They never knew this side of you. That said, this is not the moment when your reputation as a great public speaker gels into shape. But a seed has been sown in people’s minds. If you repeat the performance another time, and another, and another, eventually their perception of you as an effective speaker will solidify.

Negative reputations form in the same unhurried, incremental way. Let’s say you’re a fresh-faced manager looking at your first big crisis at work. You can react with poise or panic, clarity or confusion, aggressiveness or passivity. It’s your call. In this instance, you do not distinguish yourself as a leader. You fumble the moment and your group takes the hit. Fortunately for you, this is not the moment when your reputation as someone who can’t handle pressure is formed. It’s too soon to tell. But again, the seed has been sown—people are watching, waiting for a repeat performance. Only when you demonstrate your ineffectiveness in another crisis, and then another, will their perception of you as someone who wilts at crunch time take shape.

Because we don’t keep track of our repeat behavior, but they do, we don’t see the patterns that others see. These are the patterns that shape others’ perceptions of us—and yet we’re largely oblivious to them! And once their perceptions are set, it is very difficult to change them. That’s because, according to the theory of cognitive dissonance, people see what they expect to see, not what is there! So, even if you finally do choke a presentation – people will excuse it saying you just had a bad day or they will think it was great because that’s what they expect. And, even if you save the day in a crisis, it will not change people’s perceptions of you. They will consider it a one-off event or they will not notice your part in it at all.

So, what do you do? The challenge is that just as one event doesn’t form people’s positive perceptions of you, neither will one corrective gesture reform their views of you. Change doesn’t happen overnight. You need a sequence of consistent, similar actions to begin the rebuilding process. This is doable, but it requires personal insight and, most of all, discipline. A lot of discipline.

You have to be consistent in how you present yourself—to the point where you don’t mind being “guilty of repeating yourself”. If you abandon the consistency, people will get confused and the perception you are trying to change will get muddied by conflicting evidence that you are just the same as you were.

Finally, you have to follow up with those whose perceptions you are trying to change. Go to them every month or two and ask, “Ms. Co-Worker, It’s been one month [two months, three months] since I told you I was going to try to change this behavior. How am I doing?” Your co-worker will pause and reflect, “You’re doing good Co-Worker. Keep it up!” In this way, they will repeatedly acknowledge that they are seeing a change in your behavior. And, if you do fall back into an old behavior one time after a few months, they will remember how you have been doing great for such a period of time and will likely let it slide!

To find out more and discuss this and other ways to improve leadership effectiveness and organizational performance further contact Andrew Cooke (MGSCC), call Andrew Cooke on +61 (0)401 842 673 or andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

You can also find further insights and a wealth of material on business and leadership on Andrew’s other blog – Growth & Profit Solution Blog. There are also a large number of resources at his Blue Sky GPS Website, and these can be found Blue Sky GPS Resources.

About Andrew Cooke & Blue Sky GPS (Growth & Profit Solutions)

 

Advertisements

How to Challenge Your Team & Take It to the Next Level

Challenge Your TeamI am passionate about helping executives and leaders become more successful and, in doing so, help others become more successful in turn.  As an accredited Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach (MGSCC) I would like to share with you a simple process which can deliver real tangible improvement in leadership effectiveness and organizational performance. I have also included a short video by Marshall Goldsmith that shares this process with you.

Let me share a story with you on how to Team Build Without Time Wasting.

A team was being coached as a group,. When asked to rate themselves they scored themselves, on average, as a 6.1. Each team member was asked to reflect on a challenge that he/she was currently having and  to share with the group. There were about 10 people and 6 focused on changing what they could not change. It was an epidemic! The team prioritized this behavior – to focus on what they could change and not what they could not -as the one to focus on in their team change efforts. Over the next six months, the group took part in the Team Building without Time Wasting process and I it is now a highly functional team, with members rating the team an 8.6!

Video:Team Build Without Time Wasting.

In the video above Marshall Goldsmith provides a brief overview of how this process works, and how you can use it for your own benefit.

Following are the steps the team took to change this endemic challenge of focusing on what they could not change. Note step 7. All of the steps are critical in the process, and step 7 is the one that will take your team to the next level – it is Follow-Up – and it will ensure that the change sticks!

  1. Ask all members of the team to confidentially record their individual answers to two questions:
    1. “On a 1 to 10 scale (with 10 being ideal), how well are we doing in terms of working together as a team?” and
    2. On a 1 to 10 scale, how well do we need to be doing in terms of working together as a team?”
  2. Have a team member calculate the results. Discuss the results with the team. If the team members believe that the gap between current effectiveness and needed effectiveness indicates the need for team building, proceed to the next step in the process.
  3. Ask the team members, “If every team member could change two key behaviors that would help us close the gap between where we are and where we want to be, which two behaviors we all should try to change?” Have each team member record his or her selected behaviors on flip charts.
  1. Help team members prioritize all the behaviors on the charts (many will be the same or similar) and (using consensus) determine the most important behavior to change (for all team members).
  2. Have each team member hold a one-on-one dialogue with all other team members. During the dialogues each member will request that his or her colleague suggest two areas for personal behavioural change (other than the one already agreed on above) that will help the team close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
  3. Let each team member review his or her list of suggested behavioural changes and choose the one that seems to be the most important. Have all team members then announce their one key behavior for personal change to the team.
  4. Encourage all team members to ask for brief (five-minute), monthly three question “suggestions for the future” from all other team members to help increase their effectiveness in demonstrating 1) the one key behavior common to all team members, 2) the one key personal behavior generated from team member input, and 3) overall effective behavior as a team member.
  5. Conduct a mini-survey, follow-up process in approximately six months. From the mini-survey each team member will receive confidential feedback from all other team members on his or her perceived change in effectiveness. This survey will include the one common behavioural item, the one personal behavioural item, and the overall team member item. A final question can gauge the level of follow-up – so that team members can see the connection between their level of follow-up and their increased effectiveness.

This process works because it is highly focused, includes disciplined feedback and follow-up, doesn’t waste time, and causes participants to focus on self-improvement.

Let me close with a challenge to you (the reader) as a team leader. Try it! The “downside” is very low. The process takes little time and the first mini-survey will quickly show whether progress is being made. The “upside” can be very high. As effective teamwork becomes more and more important, the brief amount of time that you invest in this process may produce a great return for your team and an even greater return for your organization.

To find out more and discuss this and other ways to improve leadership effectiveness and organizational performance further contact Andrew Cooke (MGSCC), call Andrew Cooke on +61 (0)401 842 673 or andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

You can also find further insights and a wealth of material on business and leadership on Andrew’s other blog – Growth & Profit Solution Blog. There are also a large number of resources at his Blue Sky GPS Website, and these can be found at Blue Sky GPS Resources.

About Andrew Cooke & Blue Sky GPS (Growth & Profit Solutions)

 

 

Welcome to the Executive Insights blog!

Welcome!

My name is Andrew Cooke and I run Blue Sky GPS which brings you the Blue Sky GPS Executive Insights blog. Here we look to provide you with regular, practical, thought-leadership that you can use to improve your leadership effectiveness and to raise organizational performance.

Through the blog you can share the latest ideas, insights, tools, techniques and experiences not only from Blue Sky GPS, but also other leading commentators including Marshall Goldsmith with whom Andrew Cooke is closely allied with as an associate coach in the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching (MGSCC) process for successful executives.  Marshall has been recognized by Harvard Business Review as the #1 Executive Coach and #7 Business Thinker globally, and is the author of many leading business books.

I am passionate about helping successful executives become more successful and, in doing so, to help them help others and their teams become more successful in turn. In doing this leadership is shared, cascaded and the skills, competencies and capabilities of the organization grown and leveraged.

This blog is not storefront but a forum and we encourage you to share your ideas, insights and experiences with others; to ask questions of the community; and to help others to help you in growing and developing each other.

I look forward to seeing you here, and I hope you enjoy the shared thought-leadership – and don’t to forget to share what you find with others!

All the best, Andrew

To find out more and discuss this and other ways to improve leadership effectiveness and organizational performance further contact Andrew Cooke (MGSCC), call Andrew Cooke on +61 (0)401 842 673 or andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

You can also find further insights and a wealth of material on business and leadership on Andrew’s other blog – Growth & Profit Solution Blog. There are also a large number of resources at his Blue Sky GPS Website, and these can be found at Blue Sky GPS Resources.

About Andrew Cooke & Blue Sky GPS (Growth & Profit Solutions)