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Changing the Focus

Changing the Focus

Mar 7, 2009 9:21:17 PM

I have been revisiting the idea that change within a system poses both risk and opportunity.  Those who are more resilient during times of deep change tend to be more optimistic vs. pessimistic, but perhaps more importantly they are able to hold both.  They are realistic optimists. Leaders must look at the success factors that create more resilience within systems.  This means promoting the behaviors that drive solutions and possibilities (opportunity-oriented) rather than focusing on problems and risks (danger-oriented). Having a bias toward positive thinking is extremely beneficial, especially during times of change! In today’s environment this is known as having a growth versus a fixed mindset. 

At the same time, we can’t throw the “baby out with the bath water.”  There are issues that must be raised and so the culture must identify ways to invite debate, allow for concerns and fears to be addressed, and ultimately institute a collaborative decision making process. What I find interesting is that research (Daryl Conner) implies that the more the individual is clear about who they are and what their life purpose or guiding principals are, the easier it is for them to adapt to a changing environment. So focusing on self-awareness, life purpose, personal fulfillment, etc. actually speeds up the change process and reduces resistance.  There is also some compelling work being done that suggests fostering mindfulness and self-compassion accelerates recovering from disappointments thus further enhancing resilience. Not what you see most business organizations focusing on during times of extreme change…but what if? The possibilities are fun to consider. 

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Deb Siverson

Deb Siverson is the owner and founder of Xponents. She completed her Masters in Organizational Leadership from University of Colorado-Boulder. Deb is the author of the book, "The Cycle of Transformation: igniting organizational change through the leader coach."

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