Changing Our Minds
Dear employers, it’s 2019.
Whilst the wonderful employers who work with Daisy Chain have seen the light, I still hear so many stories about the struggle that people face when trying to find work that suits their lives. Whether that’s because they have children, have a mental health condition, or simply have something else they want to dedicate their time to, many employers find it easier to say no than yes when it comes to challenging the ‘norm’ of work.
But that’s just life right? It’s always easier not to do something than it is to make a change. It’s so much easier for the employer (in the short term) to say ‘no’ and to keep things as they are. But making change isn’t meant to be easy. Often it’s about challenging our existing beliefs and ways of life, which can be tough.
Many of my clients come to me because they want to make changes, and we work through blockages, beliefs, routines and ambitions to work out how, why and when those changes can be made. So how can employers use these techniques too?
Structural change is rife within big companies, and 9 times out of 10 this means change of a physical nature (desk move, reporting lines, departmental adjustment etc) – which is easy, because it’s clear to see and visualise. But when we’re talking about employers embracing new ways of working, often we’re talking more about a mindset change – sometimes of an individual or sometimes of a whole company culture. This type of change isn’t as easy. People making these decisions are human, so it’s only natural that they feel scared, apprehensive and, ultimately often responsible if it a f**ks up.
But that’s the problem – we are wired to imagine the worst. We default to wrapping things up into a negative narrative and imagining the worst case scenario. But I always challenge my clients to think about the best case scenario – what’s the best possible outcome? Creating a positive narrative around potential change means that we start to see the possibilities and train ourselves to become more accepting & embracing of change. Learning to think flexibly (literally & metaphorically!) and imagine a series of scenarios can reap great rewards.
Often, taking time to explore a client’s background, their current situation and their views on a subject, leads to a strong understanding in themselves as to why they may be experiencing difficulty with the idea of change. Again, within organisations, it is vital to explore all of these areas as the resistance could be coming from a deeply ingrained cultural belief or past experiences. Mindset change is about acknowledging these things within ourselves, but not letting ourselves be hostage to them.
With my clients, we often talk about making small changes first because these can often lead to bigger ones, but allow you to get comfortable with the idea of change first. The more we experience change, the more our brains become accustomed to it, so it becomes easier to have a more open mind. This approach can be replicated within an organisation.
Much of what I do is allowing people to stop and look around. We are all easily swept along on the treadmill and it’s easy just to keep going. But this doesn’t help us to see what’s going on around us, to learn, to grow and to evolve our thinking. As an employer, by taking that pause, you are giving yourself the opportunity to make considered decisions, and maybe by taking this time you give yourself permission to explore different ways of approaching a challenge, to properly explore the benefits (most organisations are goal oriented right?) and to look at how others have approached the same problem.
So, (Dear Employers), how to change your mindset? Ultimately, sometimes we just have to try something. What’s the worst that could happen?