No need to be overwhelmed.
You know the feeling. You get inspired by a new idea you learn from a Harvard Business Review newsletter or Adam Grant’s latest book.
You’re intrigued by applying your learning to turning around a project. You’re inspired to create better communication among team members. But how do you find the time to put it into practice? It doesn’t help that many of us are instant gratification junkies.
You have this nagging thought that if you had a moment to try a different method, you might make real change. Then you start to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed simply by the prospect. Pretty soon you put the possibility to improve things aside for another day. That day never comes.
For example, let’s say you want to “be more appreciative.” That’s too general. You don’t need to carry it with you every minute of the day. Something like that is too hard to keep on your mind while you have other stuff to do.
One small change = big impact.
Instead of taking on the world, identify one high-leverage small change, in a very specific area. Say you’re a team leader and your team members complain they don’t get enough recognition or appreciation. You think you have to develop a recognition system. You think need to find more money in the budget. You’re already drained.
Let’s pause. What is one thing you can do that is a small, but has a big impact? How about this? On a consistent basis, at the end of a routine meeting maybe, you share one thing you learned from each person in the room. Or acknowledge a contribution each made to the meeting. (By the way, I challenge you to find a way to incorporate a change, even if you are not a team leader.)
Obviously, context is important, based on your existing relationships, etc. But, you get my drift about starting with “one thing.” Apply sincere commitment and consistent action with this one thing.
Then it begins to spill over into other areas. You practice thinking this way. One day you find yourself expressing appreciation out of the blue. You hit exactly the right note, outside the team meeting.
Remember: small act = big impact.
It’s unlikely you are going to be successful by “powering” your way through change. Instead, craft a contained, do-able experiment to learn how to think differently. Soon you find yourself doing it without effort. It’s become a habit.
Then the high-leverage part starts to show up. For instance, the contributions or attributes you acknowledge in your meetings show team members what good performance looks like.
The human beings you work with start to respond because they want to hear how their contribution made a difference. They might even learn how to appreciate each other too.
You don’t have to change everything at once when you try to develop new skills or try out new concepts. It doesn’t have to be in every moment.
Work with me: Want some support in coming up with ideas to practice and put into play? Click here to learn how we can work together to do that.
Image: Matej Michelizza/ iStockphoto
Orig: Jan. 19, 2010