"I think our organization is dying!" The voice on the other end of the phone proclaimed. When I asked the executive why, she responded, “We don’t know how to shed!” I listened intently as she described the following problems at her organization, and I recognized them immediately as the top five signs that a workforce needs resuscitation:
1. Employee disengagement/resistance to change
2. Increased turnover rate
3. Low productivity
4. Decreased profits
5. Low customer/pt satisfaction
Do you recognize one or more of these signs in your organization? If so, what do you do? First, don’t be too discouraged. Dying isn’t dead. Recognition, or awareness of the problem, is the first step. The solution is resuscitating your workforce, which is very feasible if you apply some basic skills.
Wikipedia defines resuscitation as: To restore consciousness, vigor, or life to; to revive from apparent death or from unconsciousness.
Many companies that need resuscitation suffer from an organizational “disease” which I’ve dubbed “COPD.” This is not the familiar Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which makes it difficult to breathe. This syndrome is called Chronic Obstruction to Properly Detach. It is “progressive,” which means it gets worse over time, and it can eventually kill an organization if not addressed.
But organizational COPD can be avoided. Just like we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, organizations need to be able to continually inhale (embrace) and exhale (detach) from people, process and products that no longer serve them. That is the entire basis for the Shed or You’re Dead® philosophy.
Shedding is a two-part process. First, it requires that you let go of the old—those things that served us at one time but don’t anymore. Second, you must take on the new— all the knowledge, skills and motivation to continue to move forward. If an organization can’t shed properly, vital growth will be constricted. Prompt attention is required before serious damage occurs and resuscitation is required.
Looking for a prescription to breathe new life into your workforce and prevent organizational COPD? Resuscitate your team with these three basic skills to Shed for Success™. With continual practice they will become as natural as breathing.
1 Release the attachment. The basis of change, or shedding, goes back to two of life’s necessities: attachment and detachment. We were all attached to our moms with a cord. After nine months, mom decided to “downsize,” and the doctor cut (detached) our cord. From the time we take our first breath until we take our last, we continue to go through a series of attachments and detachments. The ability to deal with detachments at work and life is critical for survival. One of biggest questions I get asked is: “How do you know when to detach?” Here are five filter questions to help you decide if it’s time to shed.
• Is it causing suffering for the organization, others or me?
• Will detaching promote health and growth for the organization, others or me?
• What fears are involved?
• What are the benefits of detaching?
• What consequences will occur if detaching doesn’t occur?
2 Reframe the situation. Some changes may initially appear overwhelmingly negative, but with time, most people recognize change is a blessing in disguise. Reframing, or viewing a situation from a different perspective or a more positive light, is one of the most essential skills to possess. High achievers quickly see the positive side of change and don’t allow a situation, no matter how bad, to get them stuck or derailed. Change is the fuel that moves successful people forward. The goal: train employees to develop a short reframe quotient and to shed negativity quickly.
3 Refocus your energy. Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, published an article in October 2007 Harvard Business Review. In the article, Schwartz claims the new skill for future success will be, “manage your energy, not your time.” Eckert Tolle, author of The Power of Now, also supports energy management. He claims that 93 percent of our thoughts are repetitive and useless and that most people are not fully present. They are either obsessing about the past or worried about the future. Think about how much more energy your workforce could harness if everyone was fully present and focused. When distracted or overwhelmed, challenge your team to employ their most powerful innate skill acquired at birth—a deep cleansing breath. It will immediately bring them back to the now and help them refocus.
When an organization is dying or isn’t functioning properly, it can be extremely scary, and it can paralyze a workforce. A staggering 95 percent of people say fear is the number one barrier that holds them back at work and life. When people get scared they usually react by holding their breath. What is the cure for COPD? Keep breathing! Keep shedding! And keep moving forward!
Kathy B. Dempsey, CSP is President of Keep Shedding! Inc. -- a speaking, training and consulting company. Kathy is also the author of “Shed or You’re Dead®: 31 Unconventional Strategies for Growth and Change.” Contact her and get proven strategies to SHED for Success™ at www.KeepShedding.com