Tag Archives: psychology

How do people react to change? Some Facts and Figures

How do people react to change? Some Facts and Figures

So how much do we know about people’s reactions to change? I’ve been collecting reactions to change of individuals in my coaching and research for several years. The data below come from over 600 responses to my online tests (except where indicated) – the Change Perception Index and the Luck Readiness Index.

These stats about change – may surprise you!

1. One in three people would avoid change if they could.

Would you normally avoid change if you could?

If you said yes, then you’d join the 34% of respondents who agreed or completely agreed with that sentiment.

2. Over 76.51% of people said they could be fearless in a situation if they need to be.

Would you be fearless if you needed to be? Are the majority merely displaying bravado? Have you seen most other people being fearless?

3. 11.7% of people were ambivalent or actively said they did not enjoy learning new things

How many people do you know who are not interested in learning anything new? More or less than 1 in 10?

4. Goal setting as a way of creating change seems to be less popular now that anytime time since the beginning beginning of the previous decade.

Goal Setting Psycinfo search 1980-2011Graph shows a decline in publications about goal setting since the Global Financial Crisis – are we over goals?

5. Almost 1 in 3 people say that if they do not see immediate results for their efforts they usually give up and do something else.

32.2% say they do not persist if they do not see immediate progress, a further 21.3% are ambivalent. Less than half of people say indicate they would persist in the face of a lack of immediate progress.

What does this say about how we structure change programs – either personal or organisational? What does this say about learning experiences?

6. Just over two thirds of people do not find study interesting.

Only 37.5% of people disagreed that study was boring.

What does this say about how our learning and training is structured? What are the implications of this for a dynamic, flexible workforce of lifelong learners?

7. Almost 1 in 4 people say they cannot accept failure if they try something and do not succeed.

21% disagreed that they can accept failure when they do not succeed. A further 16.75% were ambivalent about their ability to accept failure – that’s 37.75% who have some degree of difficulty accepting failure.

How does our fear of failure prevent us from changing, studying, learning and transforming?

8. Almost two thirds of people say that uncertainty about the future worries them

62.71% of people agreed that uncertainty about the future worries them. Only 20.79% said they were not worried about the future.

How does all this worry translate into barriers or catalysts for change? How can we make people more at ease with uncertainty?

9. Almost 9 out of 10 people believe their lives will be very different in five years time.

86.44% of people agreed their lives will be very different in 5 years time. Only 4.52% disagreed.

So nearly everyone believes their lives are going to change. What does this mean for change programs, education, training? How can we leverage this expectation?

10. Less than half agree they have a clear picture of what they are going to be doing and how they are going to get there.

46.55% of people agreed they had a clear picture of their future and how they’d get there. 30.27% definitely disagreed they had such a clear picture, with the rest ambivalent.

So most people think their lives are going to change, but most dont have a clear idea of how they’ll change.

What do these insights into change tell us about change programs, helping individuals or organisations change? What can we do to make study as a method of change more attractive? How can we design change programs to deliver early progress and then sustained progress? How can we help people embrace uncertainty and recognise the value of failure? How do we reconcile the 1 in 3 who would avoid change if they could with the 9 out of 10 who see change as definitely present in their future lives?

 

 

Do people use uncertainty as an excuse to avoid planning and do nothing in their lives

Do people use uncertainty as an excuse to do nothing in their lives? Is it tempting to say that because uncertainty exists in the world there is no point trying to plan for a future, and so best to do nothing and deal with what comes along?

Short answer. Yes!

I think one way to look at this is to see Planning (distinct from a plan) as a form of opportunity awareness. Continually planning (devising, revising, reviving, resting, restoring, rearranging, rescheduling, timing, abandoning, copying, conceiving) is the way to go. I think there are problems with those who over-emphasise the security or benefits of “a Plan” or even having a supposed fallback of “a Plan B” – this thinking is static and risks complacency. However the risk of failing to practice planning skills may be even greater.

Like many things planning is a skill – it can be taught, and it requires continual practice or the skills can be diminished. There are some conditions that we need to guard against that I call:
PPP – Pushing Plan Prematurely
POTL – Pulling Out Too Late
SAP – Stubborn Adherence to the Plan
RATS- ReActing Too Slowly

plan failure

 

All of these conditions can be remedied by continual Planning, rehearsal etc

Some ways to do this include:
Opportunity awareness “Luck Readiness” – Being Curious, Flexible, Strategic, Persistence, Optimistic, Efficacious, and feeling Lucky

War gaming/ Scenario training – building scenarios to what-if situations continually (Shell Executives in the 1970s famously did this)

Stress testing – working through the plan and testing whether it stands up

Mentoring – running plans past the brains trust and seeking critiques

Daydreaming – thinking up new scenarios, but taking it further and turning the daydream into a fully fledged plan (you do not have to act on it, and it is remarkable how seemingly absurd ideas are more practical and doable that first imagined)

Controlled Failures – deliberately deviating from the plan with sufficient safety nets or fall back positions

Bigger picture thinking – over and above any one plan – what really matters, what are you trying to do on this earth, purpose

From this perpective, we can see why Dwight Eisenhower said (quoted in a book by Richard Nixon in the early 1960s) that “plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”

My concern is that a lot of what I’d call planning, or playfulness or planmanship, is overlooked in the rush to getting a plan. The skills are not taught to clients, and there is little encouragement to practice them regularly. Same goes for organisations that tend to stick to Annual planning retreats, and do not – and unlike the Shell executives – regularly practice planning.

 

thanks to Arlene Hirsh whose question on the Linkedin Careers Debate group prompted my thinking

 

22 effective Coaching Questions: Pixar’s 22 Rules of Story Telling Applied to Coaching

Coaching can benefit from animation company Pixar and their rules of story telling.  Pixar has 22 rules of story telling, according to David Price, the author of Pixar Touch – see his blog here. He gleaned these rules from the tweets of Emma Coats, a Pixar storyboard artist. I think they can be usefully applied in coaching. See what you think.

pixar

1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

Coaching Question: How can you recognize and celebrate the energy and effort you are applying to your projects?

2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

Coaching Question: How can you keep your client/customer/stakeholder firmly in mind in developing your plans and actions?

3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

Coaching Question: How can you take action right now and stop worrying about how things will turn out?

4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

Coaching Question: How many different ways can you describe your history using the formula above?  How are the different versions similar? How do they differ? Which is your favorite version and why? How can this help motivate your next steps?

5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

Coaching Question: What aspects of the patterns you see in your situation are pretty similar? What things are you going to leave unexplored or unanswered in the service of action?

6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

Coaching Question: If you faced challenges in areas that you feel the least capable, how could you meet those challenges and succeed?

7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

Coaching Question: Working backwards from where you need to get, what are the foreseeable next steps?

8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

Coaching Question: How can you get a positive outcome and closure in this situation even if it is not the most desirable or perfect outcome?

9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

Coaching Question: What are the most obvious things that would not work in this situation? What does that leave over that might just work?

10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

Coaching Question: Thinking about the people you admire, what specific characteristics or achievements do you admire? How does that reflect on you as a person and your priorities?

11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

Coaching Question: How can you best articulate this to trusted others without delay so you can get to work on refining and implementing your idea?

12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

Coaching Question: What are the most obvious solutions to my problem? What would be the most surprising solutions to my problem?

13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

Coaching Question: What are your real opinions about this situation?  What would a strong supporter say? What about a critic what would they say?

14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

Coaching Question: Why does this course of action matter so much to you? What meaning does it have for you?  How can you use this meaning and mattering to maintain motivation and persistence?

15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

Coaching Question: If you were a member of your team, how would you feel about the proposed action?

16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

Coaching Question: What is riding on this decision?  How can you use that to motivate you?

17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

Coaching Question: How can you switch your attention to projects where there is a greater liklihood of success? How can you ensure that you are able to transfer what you’ve learned to new projects?

18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

Coaching Question: How can you identify when you have finished something and when you are unproductively fiddling with a successful solution? What are the signs?

19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

Coaching Question: How can you leverage chance events to your advantage?  How can you be ready to take opportunities when they present themselves?

20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

Coaching Question: Thinking about a recent outcome you did not like, how could you have done things differently that would have yielded a better outcome?

21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

Coaching Question: Imagine you are the gatekeeper, what things would make you open those gates and remove the barrier?

22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Coaching Question: What are the essential repeating themes, the values and behaviors you want to express in your next actions?

This post was the result of multiple tweets.  First Emma Coats tweets these rules, then David Price blogs on it, then Joshua Cohen blogs on it and then David Winter tweets it and now I blog on it. Social media in action!

Creating creative coaching sessions – Keyhole coaching

Are we stuck in rather unimaginative approaches to how we deliver coaching or counseling sessions?  How can we start creating creative coaching sessions? This post is prompted by Madeline Paterson who commented on my post Act before you think as follows:

“I would be interested in hearing more about your thoughts on the tendency of our profession to ‘deliver’ in a session or block of sessions and moving beyond this in new ways. Although many career coaches offer support-on-demand between sessions (eg by email or tel-call), the ‘session’ approach dominates much of what career coaches do when working with individuals….Life’s uncertainties do bring unexpected moments of choice and opportunity: a single word can change everything. …how do you think we might shape services that are more responsive to clients’ life events?”

The idea that we might be limiting our effectiveness by sticking with traditional 20, 40 or 60 minute sessions is not new. Norm Amundson in his excellent book Active Engagement discusses this very point.

I’m not sure how we arrived at the hourly session, but I suspect it has more to do with administrative convenience than anything to do with maximal efficacy for the client.  As Madeline points out in her unedited comments, now that coaches are armed with technologies like mobile phones, SMS messages, Skype, Facetime, email, twitter and facebook, there are many options to communicate quickly, immediately and cheaply with clients.   This should give us the freedom to loosen our attachment to the hour and the hourly rate.

It raises the possibility that we can deliver our services in 2 – 10 minute sessions.  Short, sharp to the point sessions have many benefits including:

  • coaching when the client needs it
  • providing advice within the currently experienced context
  • providing advice when the client is receptive to it
  • providing what I call Keyhole coaching – minimally invasive or disruptive procedures in contrast with the more traditional “open heart” coaching
  • wrapping coaching more naturally around actions taken by the client
  • promoting client’s to take actions that are supported and coached “live” or “online” rather than relying solely on after the fact or “off line” reflection
  • leverages psychology of learning principles around reinforcement and rapid reacquisition of skills (in laymen’s terms revision and prompting)

key hole coaching Dr Jim Bright

These advantages are all client-focused but with technology comes the opportunity for us to be more responsive to client needs to deliver services when the client needs them, not when it suits out billing models.  What other advantages do you see in Keyhole coaching?

 

 

Webinars on Coaching with the Chaos Theory of Careers with Dr Jim Bright

Webinar Series! – Coaching clients using the Chaos Theory of Careers – 10 1 hour webinars presented by Dr Jim Bright

Training for Organisations – in-house courses StressSmart®, Job Applications & Promotions, Dealing with Difficult People, Authentic Coaching & Career Conversations for Work Excellence®

Dates – dates of public training for the rest of this year

Chaos Theory of Careers – book makes Amazon best-seller lists

Amazing Resumes – a brilliant evidence-based approach to writing effective résumés.

Blog – the Factory Podcast and Blog including interviews with Dick Bolles, John Krumboltz and many more

Linkedin Careers Debate – come and join us on this very fast growing and dynamic careers LinkedIn group, over 1000 members!

Careerscope – acclaimed school career planning book by Norm Amundson – massive discount for class sets.

Online Tests – tests to help people deal with change

Contact – how to get in contact with us!

Webinar Series

Dr Jim presents 10 1 hour webinars demonstrating how the Chaos Theory of Careers can be used practically for coaching people and groups experiencing change and transition.  Sign up for the series of 10 and receive a significant discount. In addition within each live webinar attendees can access special offers on products and training. The total worth of these combined offers is greater than the cost of attending the sessions!

There is also an option to take an online exam at the end of the course to receive formal recognition and a course graduation certificate. These webinars provide significant professional development opportunities and may be counted toward ongoing professional learning and development requirements of your professional association (please check with your association before enroling). The examined option may provide proof of advanced learning.

These sessions can be accessed  at a time then better suites you. The timing of the sessions was constrained by international time differences. Remember if you attend the live sessions you get access to the special offers as well as the chance to ask questions and interact. Those paying in advance can attend live, listen later, or both attend live and listen again later.

Session Title
1 Coaching with the Chaos Theory of Careers: complexity, change and chance – An introduction to a radical new framework for understanding the nature of change and how to help clients in transition Available for download
2 Using the Exploring Reality Chaos Checklist to validate client’s coping with change – This freeresource hosted online by Bright and Associates, is being used by 1000s of clients around the world to appreciate how they are already thriving on change and chaos.You will learn how to use the results of this free test in your coaching and counselling practice. Available for download
3 Using the Attractors to understand coachee thinking and overcome limitations. You will learn about the four different Attractors and how they influence your client’s thinking.You will learn how to identify the different Attractors at work within your client and how best to work with clients using the different Attractors. Available for download
4 Coaching clients to see fractal patterns in their actions. Taking Fractal action for authentic livingYou will learn how to interpret the complex patterns in your client’s life and circumstances and how to encourage action that is spontaneous and also authentic. Available for download
5 Coaching with Narrative and Plots to enhance self-clarity, overcome limitation and motivate actionYou will learn the strengths and weaknesses of working with client stories and ways of enhancing personal transformation though re-plotting client stories using the 7 Essential plots. Available for download
6 Using the Change Perception Index with clients – understanding the barriers to change for clients or groups.You will learn how to use this inexpensive and powerful online instrument to clarify how your clients think about and react to change. Used in many applictions for personal career change, change management initiatives in organisations and rehabilitation. Available for download
7 Using the Luck Readiness Index with clients. Promoting opportunity awareness with clients or groups.You will learn how to use this inexpensive and powerful online instrument to understand your clients levels of opportunity awareness. Used in many applications for personal career change, change management initiatives in organisations and rehabilitation. Available for download
8 Using Signposts cards with Clients – helping clients make the links with their fundamental values and deep beliefs.You will learn how to use this visually stunning card sort to rapidly assist clients understand and make links between their essential world-view and their career opportunities. Available for download
9 Using Creative Thinking Strategies Cards with Clients – to enhance creative and optimistic solutions to challenges faced by individuals or groupsYou will learn how to use this large and powerful card sort to assist clients in overcoming self-limited thinking and to generate solutions to barriers in their change transition. Available for download
10 Applying The Beyond Personal Mastery® model of Creative Coaching – using a practical framework to coach clients undergoing change.You will learn how to apply a powerful model of personal and organisational change to guide your approach to coaching and counseling. Available for download

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaos Theory of Career Book

Our book, the Chaos Theory of Careers – has reached No1 in the Amazon Medical Counselling Charts in the UK and has regularly featured in the top ten since then – you can buy the book from the UK Amazon store here

It has also been in the top 20 Amazon US kindle Consulting charts. Get the kindle or paperback version from the US Amazon store

Amazing Resumes

This well-received title published by JIST is now in its second edition. It is an evidence-based resume guide containing practical advice on how to construct a winning resume based on research from the recruitment industry. It was in the Amazon Top 40 resume guides as I type this newsletter. You can buy this on Amazon here

Alternatively for UK readers, get my bestselling Brilliant CV – now in its 4th edition. Available here.

Blog

Go to the Factory Podcast and Blog to read the latest thinking from Dr Jim plus interviews with Janet Lenz, Spencer Niles, Robert Pryor, Norm Amundson, John Krumboltz, Dick Bolles etc

Tests to assess reactions to change

Try out our online tests that measure Reactions to Change and Opportunity awareness – two of the key drivers of effective change management and transition.These tests are being widely used around the world in Change Management Programs, Workshops, by Coaches and Counsellors and in lecture programs (e.g. University of Kentucky) Go here to register and take the tests.

In-house training

We offer a range of in-house training courses such as StressSmart®, Beyond Corporate Mastery®, Beyond Personal Mastery® and Dealing with Change, as well as consulting services to Industry.

Please contact us for more details or download our brochure on training here.

Contact us:

Email: info@brightandassociates.com.au

 

web www.brightandassociates.com.au www.beyondpersonalmastery.com www.jimbright.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coaching Fractal Action for Personal Development

We get frustrated when we are unsure how to act, and feel disheartened when we voluntarily or involuntarily act in ways that are not true ourselves.  We can get lost while searching for the sweet spot that lies between pattern and surprise, consistency and spontaneity, security and risk, familiarity and freedom, and order and disorder. We can use the idea of fractals, described in the Chaos Theory of Careers, to guide us into satisfying action that is spontaneous and consistent.

When I suggested in my previous post that people act before they think one common concern is that this means acting in an entirely random manner. Indeed I did suggest “committing random acts of contribution”. However underpinning these supposedly random acts is a thread of continuity. The random acts I advocated were not totally random, they were constrained to being acts of contribution.

What I am advocating is to repeatedly apply the same rule “to contribute” over and over again in many different contexts and in many different ways.  Through these acts, a pattern of contribution emerges – or in the words of the Chaos Theory of Careers a Fractal pattern emerges.

A Wikipedia definition of a Fractal captures what we need for our purposes. ‘Fractals are typically self-similar patterns, where self-similar means they are “the same from near as from far”…. The definition of fractal goes beyond self-similarity per se to exclude trivial self-similarity and include the idea of a detailed pattern repeating itself.’

So repeatedly applying the value “to make a contribution” whenever and wherever leads to a beautiful fractal of contribution.

We can use Fractals as a way of motivating us to action, in a manner that is consistent but not totally predictable; novel but similar; sort of like old, but new; trait-like, but changing; or in the words of H.B. Gelatt, focused AND flexible.

There are four steps to Fractal Action

Step 1  Define your value rule

This is the rule you are going to apply over and over again. It should be specified in one sentence and should NOT be over-specified. It needs to be self-evidently clear, but not limiting, and it is NOT time-based.

Here are some GOOD examples:

  • helping people less well off
  • reducing costs by 10%
  • providing motivational feedback
  • learning one new thing
  • trying one new thing
  • eating a new food
  • listening to a new song
  • meeting one more person
  • improving my grade score/sales performance/feedback ratings
  • all of the above
  • improving my performance
  • being polite

These are BAD examples

  • reaching 100K in sales by August
  • getting to 10,000 twitter followers
  • helping people by supplying them with more umbrellas
  • getting promoted to Senior Management

(You can see that the good “rules” are akin to values or higher order/fuzzy goals, whereas the bad examples more closely resemble the increasingly discredited SMART goals.)

Step 2 Apply your Fractal value to your next action

For any given situation, bring to mind your fractal rule and ask yourself:

“How can I apply this rule in this situation right now?” and then do it!

This step requires Courage, opportunity awareness and creativity to see how your rules are linked to the current situation.

Step 3 Repeat

The key to this process is to repeat the process continually and regularly, in as many situations, if not all the situations you find yourself in.

Step 4 Step back and understand the pattern that is emerging

Look to see patterns emerging over time, consider the outcomes of your actions and also the underlying process.  You should see developing a complex, changing, unpredictable pattern that nevertheless has a thread of continuity reflecting how you, your values and skills have connected with the world, and how you have emerged into yourself.

As Aristotle wrote “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. And that is coaching fractal action for personal development – it’s simple but its complex!

Act before you think: In coaching and careers

“Nothing will be achieved if first all objections must be overcome” said the wise Eleanor Roosevelt.   Objections prevent action.  Objections to our own actions are ultimately authored by ourselves.  Others may advise caution or object, but it takes us to take on board and own those objections to prevent us from acting.  It is our thoughts prior to action that can ultimately present a formidable barrier to action.

Thinking before you act is what we’ve been all brought up to do.  We are taught to think a failure to think first must ultimately result in reckless disregard for our own or others’ well-being. The trouble is,  thinking before you act is not a fail safe process, because it is impossible to think through all the possible outcomes of a proposed action.

We cannot work out all the possibilities in advance, not only because there are too many, but also because our current vantage point may not reveal the complete picture.  I live near the coast, and if I am standing on one beach I cannot see the other one around the headland.  Even if I stand on that headland, where I can see both beaches, I cannot see around the next headland and what may be on offer there.  In other words, I might be missing out on a fantastic beach and I’ll never discover it unless I am prepared to act.

For people stuck in their careers, there is every likelihood that their heads are full of confusion, cautionary thoughts and frustration.   Clarifying their thoughts as a lot of coaching and counseling aims to do, may be doing no more than giving them a sharper picture of the beach they are on.   They will never fully appreciate the other great beaches until they are prepared to act and move to a new vantage point. Act before you think!

I am more and more convinced that we’ve got our priorities wrong by so strongly privileging thinking before you act in career coaching. I become even more convinced when I hear the countless stories from clients who “fell into” satisfying careers, or got there by being in the right place at the right time. These people (and I think they are the majority) got where they are as much by acting before you think, than thinking before you act.

So in your own coaching practice, take action, and resolve to encourage your clients to action first, and then collectively reflect after.  Encourage lots of small steps and little experiments, encourage turning up to things, encourage connection with others without any clear agenda, encourage random acts of contribution to others, encourage your clients to go forth.