Calisthenics for Change: How to Be a Leader Ready for Change

Maze-ca-20003265Flexibility, a willingness to manage chaos, a healthy acceptance for ambiguity, and an uncanny ability to manage multiple priorities are key prerequisites for dealing effectively with rapidly-changing corporate realities. Does that pretty much describe today’s global marketplace?

We believe you’ll agree that the pace of accelerated change is phenomenal. The amount of managerial elasticity and recuperative powers in shepherding people and jettisoning services and products through leaky systems and hard times is at an all-time high.

Competition is fierce. Stakes are high. Hundreds of managers (or is that thousands) have been derailed and sub­sequently assigned to the scrap heap because they failed to accept the inevitability of change.

Prying some managers loose from prehistoric beliefs, frozen (unyielding, cemented) attitudes, and outdated assumptions takes considerable managerial torque. Some antediluvian beliefs will have to be dynamited out!

One thing is for certain—any manager who fails to, refuses to, or intentionally recoils from change will suffer inex­orably and face unrelenting horrors in the years to come, both personally and professionally. (Do we have your attention? We hope so!)

Here’s What You Can Do:

GordianKnot-iStock_000020998856XSmallOur prescription for healthy, productive and decisive leadership: Untie your Gordian Knots anytime you find them. (You’ll recognize them by your feelings of resistance and refusal to hear new ideas or try new things!)  Loosen up. Welcome change. Unzip your resistance to continuous improvements. Climb out of your self-imposed rut (quickly, we might add). However, once you’re out of the rut, proceed slowly. Deliberately. Intentionally. Faithfully.

Begin by designing an incremental change program. When? Now, of course! Immediately. Where? Everywhere. Personally and professionally. In every area of your life. What does the program consist of? Positive change. Small step self-exploration oppor­tunities. Minuscule course corrections. Major turns. Inner child calisthenics. Self-renewal at every turn.

But this growth process also means tantalizing fun. Emotional tenderizing. Intellectual aerobics. Spiritual deepening. Physical agility. Embracing your growth edges. Repotting yourself so you can expand and deepen your professional roots.

Some of our favorite calisthenics for change strategies are:

  • brush your teeth (comb your hair, button your shirt or blouse) with your non-domi­nant hand;
  • enroll in a drama class (or a computer software class, a judo class, an art class …);
  • drive home a different way;
  • adopt a new hobby that seems totally uncharacteristic of you;
  • walk around the house barefooted;
  • snuggle up to a potter’s wheel and mold clay;
  • enjoy an afternoon snooze in the hammock;
  • try a new way of eating: if you like fried eggs, scramble ‘em; if you’re partial to red meat, go vegetarian for a day.

These are a good start, but you’ll need to add a few more—go deeper into change—to get unstuck.

  • NoBadHabitsWithin a rea­sonable time-span eliminate an old, entrenched habit;
  • refrain from wearing your watch for a couple of days;
  • fast for a day;
  • write your name (in cursive) with your non-dominant hand;
  • draw a picture using your other hand;
  • walk barefooted in a creek or stream;
  • stand in the longest line at the supermarket;
  • rechannel your gamesmanship energies and play to lose (at least some of the time);
  • give one of your material pos­sessions away to someone who will appreciate the gesture;
  • avoid watching the news for a day;
  • do something you haven’t ever done before (like complimenting your mother-in-law, or remembering your wedding anniversary).

We hope these sound interesting, too, but we’re still just getting warmed up!

  • Changehold a meeting in an unusual place;
  • Get to work an hour earlier than usual;
  • back into a parking place instead of pulling in;
  • turn back the brightness knob and listen to TV instead of watching it;
  • draw two pictures simultaneously using both hands;
  • take all of the chairs out of the conference room and then hold the meeting;
  • take a brisk walk or swim during lunch instead of dining out;
  • at the next toll booth you encounter on an important trip, give the atten­dant enough fare to cover the vehicle behind you as well.

That last one will feel really good. Hope these ‘change rehearsal’ ideas are getting you interested. We’ve got a few more to toss at you before we close this blogcast.

  • EmployeeGrouphave a one-on-one lunch with each of your employees. (You buy! It’s an investment!);
  • enjoy a complete body massage;
  • talk to marketing, or manufacturing, or sales, or accounting;
  • eat tofu (without an ugly face);
  • drink a large glass of grapefruit juice;
  • sail, kayak, parachute or sky dive;
  • send a tweet;
  • change your hair style;
  • if you have a fetish for murder mysteries, read biographies or autobi­ographies;
  • adopt a new craft or hobby;
  • complete all of these to develop your change mastery. (Go ahead—we’ll write more.)

The more you adapt these change activities, the more you realize that change is invigorating! And that opens you up to all the new ideas that can grow your business and build the bottom line. It enhances your ability to master new technology to work smarter. It helps you appreciate your employees, and help them not only open up to change, but enjoy the process of innovation and initiative … as together you celebrate the extraordinary within each one! And don’t forget to let us know what ideas you come up with to practice change!

(You’ll find this, and 100 other ways to build leadership skills in our award-winning book, The Manager’s Short Course to a Long Career.)

About Cher & Bil Holton

Since 1984, Cher & Bil Holton have been co-owners of The Holton Consulting Group, Inc., helping corporate and association clients enhance bottom-line results using cutting edge employee engagement. Their keynote speeches, turbo-training, and coaching sessions are practical, grounded in research, and lots of fun to boot! They are prolific authors, and take "Indiana Jones" vacations to continually stretch their limits!
This entry was posted in Leadership, Positive Psychology, The Extraordinary You, Work & Life Enrichment and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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