I’ve been running Executive coaching session recently, trying to help our leaders to build their social skills. Communication in the modern workplace has changed significantly, and the expectation on our leaders (on all of us) has grown. But “being social” is not just about learning how to use LinkedIn or IBM Connections, it’s a pretty significant behaviour change. Using social networks to communicate rather than trusty email, writing short authentic stories rather than cascading formal corporate messages and working visibly, posting your work where others can see it when your used to keeping working privately. These things might come naturally to those born into Gen Y, because this is how they have learnt to communicate with their friends and networks outside of work. But for the rest of us, it’s learning a new skill AND changing our habits.
And changing your habits is REALLY hard. I mean, I know that meditating for 10min and exercising every day is good for me…and I start of most of my days with the best intentions. Then somehow I find myself at the end of the day and woops, forgot that meditation and oh, that exercise didn’t happen either…but I’m too tired now…tomorrow..tomorrow.
So by the same token, people are having the same challenges changing their work habits. Not because they don’t recognise the need to change, but because the old ways of working just happen more naturally.
I read a post recently from one of my favourites, ZenHabits, where he spelt out some of the steps he takes when trying to implement change…and I think these are just as relevant to making changes at work.
- Tell someone you’re going to do it. Make the commitment. Tell your colleagues or your team at work that you are committed to make the change, say you will dance on the boardroom table if you fail. Make your self accountable. (this is part of how I can help my Executives, I get to stalk them and remind them they committed to change!!).
- Carve out time. You have to make the time. Carve out the time every day. And even better, if you can tie it into an existing routine. Like when you arrive at work and the first thing you do is open your email…make that a trigger to check your social feeds as well. When are these triggers for you? put it in your calender now!
- Start as small as you can. Some people make the mistake of over-committing, because they’re so inspired. But you’re less likely to succeed if you say that you’re going to work out an hour a day, or learn a new skill for 2 hours a day. Even 30 minutes a day is too much. Start with 10. Or 5. Or 2, if you’re really busy. You have time for 2 minutes a day.
- Have reminders. It’s easy to forget when you start out. Use post it notes, stuck to your computer. Set up reminders in your diary or on your phone
- At the moment when you want to avoid it, pause. There will be a moment (or a bunch of moments) when you think, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” That’s the moment you have to not let pass idly by. Stop yourself, and just sit there for a moment, not going on your computer, just turning inward. What are you afraid of? What’s stopping you? There is a discomfort you’re trying to avoid. Instead, smile, and start. Do it and enjoy it in the moment. You’ll love it.
Ok..so with these wise words in mind, what are you trying to change? lets start today…. (or maybe I’ll start tomorrow, got a lot on today…ha aha haha)