When an international IT team set out to transform their org, they found change is not just a logical process. Using emotional intelligence mentoring and the Vital Signs climate assessment, they developed a process to make change effective. Here’s how it works.
When is the last time you looked forward to change in your workplace? Did it produce anxiety or positive anticipation, or both?
A Conversation with EQ Practitioner, Tim Alur on a case of using emotional intelligence to change the reaction to change.
Tim Alur lives in Australia. He is a Six Seconds certified EQ Practitioner, a Vital Signs Consultant and SEI EQ Assessor. He works closely with corporate managers and educators in building awareness about Emotional Intelligence and its relevance for daily interactions.
In a recent Vitality webinar, Tim talked about change and how lonely it can be. “Many people in organizations find that change provides both challenges and opportunities, but often the negative part can overshadow the positive outcome at the other side of the change moment. And yet, change is a constant, in both life and work. How can we learn to navigate the emotions change brings up more positively, so that growth can be the outcome?” Tim continues, “Change is growth, it is never meant to take us down. Companionship enables us to handle change far better.”
So if change can lead to a better outcome in the future, why do so many people resist it? Participants in Tim’s webinar had an array of reasons; from fear, to being out of one’s comfort zone, to the lack of trust that change will lead to something better.
Tim gave an example of a time he took part in a transformation project in the IT space spanning several countries. It was a major change allowing people to move from their comfort zone where they were celebrated by their competence for 20 years, to a new setting. In the long run, with EQ mentoring, they were able to make the change gracefully with less anxiety and conflict.
This clever graphic illustrates the ways people in organizations can use change for something positive:
The Steps of CHANGE
Tim explains that the graphic above articulates key steps to make individual and organizational change effective:
C = Conversation within ourselves: “Listen to those conversations. Be aware of feelings and understand the message the feelings convey. Be aware of conversations we have with others during change. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those who have journeyed before us and have managed change effectively. Reaching out to others is not a sign of ignorance but the strength to be vulnerable to discover our capacity to learn and adapt. By doing this we activate the law of interdependence and collaboration.
H = Harnessing our experiences and responses, both positive and negative, to change, is very important to adjusting to change. Tim uses a journal to explore these responses.
A= Allow others to journey with us. Reach out for help. Be open to others who help you and express how they are experiencing positive change. We can feel supported when we allow others to express their emotions. Being vulnerable is not exposing our weakness, but ceasing from pretense. It is a place of courage and openness and learning. When go through a change, be kind to ourselves by asking for help.
N = Navigate: We need to learn to navigate change. “Recently I was talking to a family friend who was changing a career to teaching. I asked how it was going, and whether she ever wanted to go back to her previous work. She said, many times. “We often resort to our comfort zones, but we need to be able to imagine the positive situation that is on the other side of the change to make progress.
G = Gaining insight; When we learn to harness our experiences, network and navigate the change, there are amazing insights we experience. Through that we can manage change well.
E = Engage: We need to engage change. It is so constant in life, from the moment you are born, it’s natural. Change is a sense of life.
Case Study: EQ for IT
So how does this overview relate to working with change in an organization? Tim uses Six Seconds’ Organization Vital Signs tools to essentially hold up a mirror to team leaders so they can see any gaps between their own perceptions of how well they are leading, and those of their team members.
Here’s how it worked with one of Tim’s clients:
Team leaders were given SEI assessment (Six Seconds’ hallmark EQ test) to measure individual emotional intelligence. First, Tim conducted pre-mentoring with the leader and team members. He recalls,
“The one-on-one session was difficult. They had such a blind spot between the team’s perception and theirs. The self- perception was so high on the part of the team leader, there was a huge gap between their perception and the team’s. This can create negativity.”
So how did the leader react when it was revealed that their perception of their own effectiveness differed so much from the way their team saw them?
Tim explained, “The leader’s response to the first evaluation was quite negative and created a desire to quit. But after mentoring, there was a 20% increase in the outcomes.”
“The alignment created was initiated by the team leader. There was an amazing change. After the mentoring session, the perceptions were much more aligned. The managing directors said there was a totally different climate, all through the mentoring process.”
“Emotional intelligence has two dimensions; the independent dimension, and the interdependent dimension: To quote a famous book, ‘Love your neighbor as you would yourself. It’s simple, but powerful. Awareness and Choice are two most valuable gifts given to human kind to engage life’s challenges and thrive” – Tim Alur
The Vital Signs assessment provided a measure to clarify the need for change and showed leaders how and why to apply emotional intelligence. Adding “Vitality” to the change process is about bringing people into a context where they can adapt and thrive.
Let us explore if the word VITAL as an acronym would help us to engage change effectively:
V– Visualize past experiences and future aspiration through reflection- Mindfulness
I – Integrate past experiences to form new insights –Develop Self Awareness
T– Transition the transformation journey – Practice, Optimism and Navigation
A– Acknowledge and appreciate progress – Engage, Empathy and Celebration
L-Love life and live the change – Express Gratitude.
The Bottom Line
These powerful steps are fueled by emotional intelligence. With added awareness and new tools, we can change the process of change.
To view Tim Alur’s full webinar presentation at Vitality 2015, go to www.eq.org. Ally members can view all Vitality webinars once they join for a yearly membership. For more on Tim Alur’s work: http://www.6seconds.org/cert/profile/view/timothy-alur