Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for January, 2015

Care to go Nowhere? I do.

In 2006, I had a brief article published about globalization and technology and their impact on life balance. I began the article reflecting on a vacation I had just taken in Arizona where I was able to unplug for 7 days. Although I acknowledged that it was already becoming a struggle to experience a stretch of time without technology, it was still acceptable and natural to take a vacation.

Today, only 9 years later, we’re hard-pressed to believe that it’s professionally acceptable to unplug for 7 consecutive days, unless we’re visiting some remote island without internet access! Last week I overheard this exchange between two colleagues: ”I had a pretty good vacation. I only had to work for a few hours for a couple of days.” His colleague’s response? “That’s not too bad.”

Seriously, what’s wrong with this picture?

I recently listened to a TED Talk presentation recommended by a friend of mine on “The Art of Stillness”. The presenter, Pico Iyer, global author and travel writer, shares his experience with what he sees as a worthy travel goal….Going nowhere.

His words had a significant impact on me, because of my own struggle with unplugging more often in my day-to-day life. I also found his ideas interesting as they relate to what I hear and observe so frequently from professionals who are consistently overwhelmed with mega-communications and the volume of awaiting demands whether it be day or night. It’s exhausting.

Let me acknowledge that it seems this is a conundrum more for people over 25 years old. I’m generalizing I realize, but research tells us that Millennials see digital communications as an integrated part of their human experience and the world. That seems much easier than experiencing a constant struggle between technology and living our lives.

Either way, it seems to me a visit to Nowhere could be a healthy trip for anyone, at any age.

Organizational change is complex. A few strategies that may help.

Although change has become an expected and common denominator in business, it still presents its share of complexities. Here are a just a few things that I’ve either experienced or observed relating to organizational change—along with a few strategies that you may find helpful to consider as you lead yourself and/or others through change.

– Effective communication sits at the core of any effective and sustainable organizational change. How people are engaged and how eloquently and frequently the change, its impact, and the standards for meeting the challenge are communicated, via leadership, is key. And, in order for people to internalize and retain what you’re communicating they may need to hear it six times, six different ways.

– The strategy for change may be clear, yet the impact on infrastructure tends to be complicated and takes a great deal of time and commitment to implement. Based on this, it’s important to establish and plan interim strategies and communication in order to engage and retain others throughout the shift. And it’s crucial to measure and reward results as the change evolves and takes hold.

– When organizational change takes place, individual roles and responsibilities are frequently uprooted or re-established. It’s common to see a lack of clarity emerge relating to an individual’s role or ownership of responsibilities. New roles and responsibilities need to be introduced clearly and supported by upper management during the transition in order to achieve a solid new organization.

Organizational change that generates successful results is a major undertaking that is a perfect storm of strategy, planning, communication, leadership, and employee engagement and commitment.