Ep 20 – Trends in Neuroleadership and Change Management

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Ep 20 – Trends in Neuroleadership and Change Management

Change is a habit. This is something that has really resonated with me since I finished up reading Mel Robbin’s The 5 Second Rule which I talked about in an earlier episode of the Workology Go podcast. Right now I’m reading Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead, and I’m fascinated by her study of leadership and how to be a more intentional leader. I’m of the belief that change happens by being intentional with your everyday habits. In order to change, you have to recognize that there is an area that you need to improve upon. It could be something like you talking to an employee or spouse. We convince ourselves that it is something we’ve always done which in fact those behaviors have been taught, and once we learned them we practiced them so much that we forgot we were taught them. They became part of who we are and are a habit.

And that habit idea from both Mel and Brene’s books has been on my mind. So earlier this week, I came across this article in my LinkedIn Feed. It’s titled, Why Neuroleadership Is Moving From ‘Leadership to Change’ to ‘Culture and Leadership.’ 

In the article, the author mentions the following, ‘Culture is shared by everyday habits.” Even culture is an intentional habit and the only way to change a habit is to rewire your brain, but it’s not just your brain that you are re-wiring. You are re-wiring everyone in your company when it comes to a cultural shift and change.

Last week I was talking to an HR leader who told me they are moving from an AS400 system in the office to a new and shiny one for all their HR and employee needs in mid-July. He asked me how I would help make people assimilate to the new technology better or faster, and I was reminded by a podcast interview I did with Neuroleadership expert, Britt Andretta.

And if you design learning for other people including as a manager or a parent or a healthcare worker or a teacher it gives you some tips about how to create better learning for others. And then on the change one I really wrote it on three levels. One is for I call them expedition designers. They’re the people because the whole metaphor I use is that we’re on a change journey. It’s not an event it’s a journey. So there’s the expedition designers these are the leaders who design decide that a change is needed and they do a lot of the designing of the change. And then you’ve got guides which are the managers who are kind of handed the change saying you’ve got to get your people through this. And here you go. So tools for them on how to guide a team through successful change. And then people who are going through the actual change themselves are what I call the travelers.

They’re travelling on that journey and all of us end up travelers at some point even if you’re the CEO of a company at some point somebody dictates a change to you that you may or may not be onboard for. So absolutely we can as individuals take more responsibility for how we move through change and even compensating for having poor guides or less than effective managers or supervisors. We can do a lot to compensate for that in empowering ourselves to be successful through change.

A lot of the questions and conversations that I tend to have with with some of the listeners of the podcast and readers from the blog is how do we take these ideas or this this idea that I have in and get my CEO to be okay and comfortable with this new change or how do I get to the seat with the executive team to be able to make an impact like I would love to be able to. It sounds like to me that your book provides some guidance and really great insights in how to help accomplish that.

And while I was talking with that HR guy, my mind went immediately to what Britt said, and I asked him how long it had been since they made the announcement about moving to the new system to the employees. The HR leader is what Britt called an expedition designer in her interview. He’s been able to marinate and work through this tech change for a long time compared to his employees who just had several weeks.

We need to really think about the time that it takes for employees to understand, absorb, and accept any type of change if we really want it to stick whether it’s employee culture or a new technology. I hope this gives you pause as you think about the new change you’ve had a chance to marinate on and the time, information and communication, you can give your employees to help them move forward and help make change a habit for them.

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Featured Story

Why NeuroLeadership Is Moving from ‘Leadership and Change’ to ‘Culture and Leadership

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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