Making the most of change and transitions with be the focus of my keynote speech on Tuesday, September 9th at the Project Management Institute Orange County event.
Your presentation at the September dinner meeting is going to center on change. How did you pick this topic?
In my work with organizations, employees are suffering from change saturation. The pace at which change is happening is frequent, rapid and continues to accelerate. People need to understand their own reactions to change and learn now to mitigate the effects of the transitions caused by the change.
What are some key elements to managing change?
Organizational change requires individual change. Organizational outcomes are the collective result of individual change. That is why it is critical for change management to be an element of project management to help address the people side of change.
The emphasis is to:
- Develop commitment
- Manage resistance to new processes and tools
- Achieve goals related to change that is a result of the project
The transition from the current way to the new way, does not happen with the flip of a switch. People have to process what is means. People go through several phases including letting go of the way things were, learning to accept the new way, and then only then can the achieve the new beginning.
Communication is key to helping people understand what the change means to them. If you can reduce the ambiguity and uncertainty that often accompanies change in organizations, you will have higher success rate for achieving the desired change.
You are a certified yoga instructor. How has that helped your in your business?
Yoga has been life changing for me. When you study it more deeply it’s so much more than the physical practice. I meditate and focus on my breathe to help relieve stress, calm my nervous system and improve my overall well being. I am much more mindful about how I am interacting with others and feel I am much more present when I am with clients. Directly, I have started to integrate the concepts and practices into some of the workshops that lead and as part of strategic planning retreats I do with groups. Intensive periods of concentrated work can be enhanced through simple movement and breath work. The response and results have been amazing. In the area of change, I have learned to accept that everything is impermanent and to let go of attachment to the way things are, and in this way I have gotten more comfortable with uncertainty which is what people really fear about change.
What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received from someone and how have you applied it?
Woody Allen has been attributed with saying, “Showing up is 80% of life.” I don’t think I am necessarily any more brilliant than any of my peers, but I am persistent and resilient. I show up. I make a commitment and I keep it. My colleagues and my clients know that I will deliver on my promise and do what I say I will do. And at a deeper level, as I apply mindfulness techniques I “show up” when I am with people by being fully present in my interactions with others.
What advice would you give the young project managers just getting into the discipline?
Practice self-care. Eat healthy foods, make time for exercise, sleep and spending quality time with people you care about. In doing so, you will have more energy and get more done. I know it feels counter intuitive. We are programmed to think if I just work harder and longer hours, I’ll produce better results. That is a myth. You will have more to give to your work and your relationships if you take better care of yourself.
What’s been your proudest accomplishment in your career?
The legacy of people I have coached and mentored to become leaders themselves. I subscribe to the concepts of Servant Leadership which states that the best test of a leader is : Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? I am so proud of the many people I have had the privilege to serve in this way, and now they are helping others grow as leaders too.
Interview conducted by Len Stregles.