The shortfall of any training is creating the momentum of excitement for change to continue. Reverting to default is an unfortunate truth of most interventions. There are many reasons for this, the most crucial one being the lack of a leader who drives the change process.
Everyone gets caught up in the hype of the discussions and ideas, but when they return to work, this gets lost. The demands of the workplace hijack the process, fueling the belief that nothing really changes despite the best intentions.
Beating one’s head against a brick wall
As a trainer, I find this very frustrating and disappointing, but not surprising. Being on the outside, I get to see the ideas for what they are – incredible opportunities to be great. It’s amazing to be part of each individual’s process – to be privy to their growth and self-awareness, paradigm shifts and ‘aha’ movements. To hear them, with excitement and vigour, put forward ideas that could really bring about remarkable changes to the business. Yet, despite the impetus created by what is uncovered and shared in the workshop, the reality of work sabotages this energy. Like a co-dependent relationship, the psychological dependent entity uses the ‘other’s’ vulnerability to keep the dysfunctional relationship sustained. Therein lies my frustration.
The disappointment stems from being so aware of a person’s talent and capability but they themselves do not see it, let alone believe it. At the same time, they refuse to consider the option that they really have this capability. They continue to practice patterns that are self- destructive, as if they deserve to be punished.
It’s not surprising though as human beings are creatures of habit. We defend the comfort and control that the paradigm ‘this is the way I am’ or ‘this is the ways things are’ brings with it. It gives us a verifiable excuse to think, feel and behave the way we want to, without considering the impact of our actions.
The fact that change is constant does not take from the fact that change is also very difficult. We all find change difficult; each with our own reasons but ultimately; the unknown is scary and uncertain. Change is however very necessary if we want to surpass the achievements of the past and, at the same time, not be constrained by it’s mistakes.
I think it’s fair to say that we all acknowledge that the workplace of today is not what it was 20 years ago. It’s reasonable to say that the workplace of 20 years from now will also be different. Acknowledging this is however very different to follow though. The fact is, people no longer want to be managed. They now consider this an obstacle to their personal and career growth. Employees demand greater autonomy, empowerment and opportunity. Where employees once asked what they could do for the company, they now combine this with what is the company doing for me?
Progressive companies recognise the value and importance of investing in their people. They also recognise that companies can no longer be managed institutions, they need to be ‘homes’ that are led through leadership.
The CEO, MD or HODs are no longer the managers – they are now the role models of leadership. They are the producers of future leaders. This however requires a very different skill set that goes beyond management. For example, the standard management practice of incentivising people with money to make more money no longer applies. This will make successful companies but not remarkable ones. (Like people, success is short lived & remembered, where remarkable leaves a legacy).
Taking up the challenge
The Leadership Development Workshop, created by B&A, was designed to specifically take up this challenge. Its ultimate purpose is to create the platform to move the organisational culture away from a control (management) paradigm to an empowering (leadership) one.
But this can only happen if the people and the organisation, as a whole, are uncomfortable enough to change. In other words, the discomfort of the current situation must be so great that the only choice available is to change it. There must be no other option and no excuse strong enough to hinder the process.
The other key element to this is in recognising that the people are the architects and the supporters of the culture; they nurture it. They do this through a blame mentality and pointing fingers at each other, particularly management, for all the symptoms without realising the cause is deeply rooted in their own insecurity and vulnerability with change.
It’s the psychological, emotional and behavioural process that needs to be affected in order for change to happen. Thank goodness that the greatest gift we have is the capacity to always make a choice!
Bruniquel & Associates (Pty) Ltd
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