VOLUME TWO, ISSUE 2

3 Human Elements  "oh there been times I thought I couldn't last for long. But now I think I'm able to carry on. It's been a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come, yes it is."
     Sam Cook had it right when he wrote those lyrics. A change indeed was gonna's inevitable that life brings change. But in 1963, change came at a much slower pace than it does today.
     Change happens whether we want it or not. And once we think we've found the "sweet spot" in life (or in work), it can be even tougher to face change. Four years ago, after more than two decades in California, my partner and I sold our house and moved back to the resort area in the Midwest where we grew up. As consultants, we figured we could work from anywhere. We bought a beautiful house on a golf course and settled in to once again enjoy the four seasons.
     Three years into the move, much of our business was still in California. We were traveling 2-3 weeks a month and the nearest airport for a nonstop flight to LA was 2 1/2 hours away. It was time for another change. We put the house on the market and moved back to LA, renting a house until the lake house sold. It's been over a year. We just had a candid conversation with our realtor - he thinks it could be another 18-24 months before the house sells. So we're moving back to the lake house...which means traveling again. It's another change - dictated this time by a sluggish real estate market, a world block we can't get over.
     Whether we choose change or have it thrust upon us, the one thing we can always control is our reaction. We can rail against it...or we can navigate through it and focus on positive outcomes.
     Which response do you choose most often?
Jennie Ayers
President, Challenge It Now 
In This Issue
One Thing that Makes Change Easy
The Kaizen Way
The One Thing Your Child Would Change About You
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Fancy Yourself a Multi-Tasker?
If you think of yourself as a master of multi-tasking, we have news for you. There's no such thing - and researchers have studies to prove it. Managing two mental tasks at once has been proven to reduce the brain power available for either task. It's virtually impossible to focus on more than one thing at a time. Instead, our brain will shift its focus from one thing to the next very quickly. To get a more visceral understanding of what that means, you can play a brief online game dreamed up by the New York Times. Check your ability to multi-task while driving.
Climate Hands

"Do the One Thing that Makes Change Easier" by Rebecca Ripley
One of the biggest challenges we face today is how incredibly fast things change. Toffler warned us in 1970 that rapid change was coming and that we'd all be negatively impacted, both physically and psychologically. At the time, people either scoffed at his warning or reacted with cynical apathy. Well, it turns out Toffler was right. Change is tough - whether it's a good change or a bad one - whether it's thrust upon us or it's a change we initiate. And we've spent the better part of the last two decades trying to figure out how to deal with it.
Now it may seem logical that the changes we initiate would be easier to navigate. But anyone who's ever tried to break a habit knows how difficult it is to change a behavior that's been ingrained in us for years - even if we want to make the change. You may have heard that it takes at least 21 consecutive days of doing things a NEW way (making healthy food choices, exercising, not criticizing your spouse, etc.) for the new behavior to be embedded. No wonder change causes such havoc in our lives.
Being a dedicated lifelong learner and book junkie, I'm on the constant prowl for the next great read, be it fiction or non-fiction. A friend recently recommended a book by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz - The Power of Full Engagement-Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal (whew! what a title). I found the book both persuasive and practical - and one line struck me as especially profound: "Because we so often lack deep roots -firm beliefs and compelling values - we are easily buffeted by the prevailing winds. If we lack a strong sense of purpose we cannot hold our ground when we are challenged by life's inevitable storms."
                   mom and baby ducks
                             Make sure change is in alignment with values.
Read that quote again. It's key. If we want to change our behavior, we have to align that change with our values. Otherwise, we quickly lose energy and direction. One blustery wind and we're right back where we started - yesterday or two weeks ago. We need to ask ourselves in the moment, "Is what I'm doing serving my values?" So before I eat that chocolate cake, I have to ask myself if this choice is serving my value of health. Or before I point out an insignificant irritation to my dear husband, I have to ask if this comment is serving my value of respect for others. When we get in the habit of stopping to ask these values-driven questions, we expand our choices of how to behave.
Of course, it's much easier to remember that we have these choices when all is going well. When we're knee-deep in alligators and swamp rats, we rarely focus on values alignment - and yet, according to the authors, this is when values would serve us best - both as a source of energy and as a code of conduct.
So the next time you commit to making a change, or you're asked to navigate a change that's been thrust upon you, I challenge you to link it to those values you claim are important to you. (The book includes tools and terrific examples to help you gain clarity on your values and purpose.) This all goes back to McClelland's motive drive theory. We are motivated to behave in ways that serve our life's purpose.
If you're driving change in your organization, the same logic holds true. Look for ways to align the change with the organization's values, vision and mission as well as with the values of your employees. I guarantee you'll see quicker, most lasting results.
Purpose is the most powerful energizer we've let's use it.
Portion Control - Doing Things the Kaizen Way by Janice Criddle 
collaboration cubes
Yes, I'm one of the of the many people who set a goal to lose weight this year. (Please note I didn't call it a new year's resolution. If you want more information on goal setting, see our January 2010 issue.) I'm optimistic and confident about my chances for success because:
  • My goal is aligned with my values/motive drive.
  • I used the goal setting process to make sure my goal is attainable, measurable & time phased.
  • I've identified resources for help and support.
  • Most importantly, I'm doing it the Kaizen Way.
Kaizen is the Japanese technique of achieving lasting success through small, steady steps. In the 80's, we called it Total Quality Management or Continuous Improvement. Robert Maurer, Ph.D., in his book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, recommends that we start making changes by beginning with activities that take as little as 30 seconds a day. When the steps are that small, it's virtually impossible to fail. My favorite recommendation he made is to start an exercise program simply by standing on a treadmill for 30 seconds a day. (I can do that!)
When most of us commit to losing weight, the inclination is to start a major diet or exercise routine, completely restock the kitchen, rule out eating at favorite restaurants and totally annoy our family and friends. When I considered these alternatives, I knew they weren't for me. I also knew they were statistically unsuccessful.
So what would work? Portion control. One of the core principles of the most successful weight loss methods is portion control. That can work for me. As I thought about it, a light bulb went on. Portion control will work for me, not only with regard to actual food, but with the entire process of losing weight. Small steps. One at a time. The Kaizen Way.
If you'd like to learn more about the physiology and psychology of how the Kaizen Way works, pick up the book. It's a quick read. I'll check back in with you and let you know how it's working for me.
The One Thing Your Child Wants to Change About You by Jennie Ayers 
stressed working dad w/babyGoogle "organizational change" and you get access to almost 7 1/2 million entries. And yet, even with that much information surrounding change - how to implement it, how to manage it, how to assess it - organizations still struggle with it. In a recent McKinsey study, only 38% of responding organizations felt their change initiatives were either completely or mostly successful...even though they made a clear and compelling case for why the change was needed, created goals specifically linked to the success of the change effort and engaged employees in the planning and implementation of the change.
     Why the disconnect?
     In the past, research on change has focused almost exclusively on the "change event" rather than the broader view of the changed environment and the impact of that environment on employees. It seems as if organizations take a tactical approach to change but fail to offer continuity when it comes to human captial. Even when employees seem to weather the change process successfully, there are residual effects. Although people vary widely in their reactions to change, everyone admits that change creates anxiety across employee populations. And when workers feel they bear an unequal burden during the change process, stress levels are even higher, impacting their overall performance. Their level of commitment to the organization also erodes. Those feelings of anxiety and stress impact our personal lives and upset the delicate balance we all try to maintain between career and family.
   A national sampling of 1000 children in grades 3 through 12 was given a survey. One of the questions they were asked was: "If you could change one thing about your parents, what would it be?" What do you think your child would answer? Parents of the children surveyed overwhelmingly stated that the one thing their kids wanted was for them (the parents) to spend more time with them. WRONG. Almost every kid in the survey had the same response - they wanted their parents to be less stressed from work.
     Next month, we'll take a look at work/life balance - what we can do better to manage it and the surprising places we might find it.
3 Human Elements
Challenge It Now focuses its energies on a common goal - through consultation, coaching and facilitation, we help professionals in business organizations create and sustain a workplace climate where the positive experience of work is optimized, engagement is enriched and performance potential is maximized.
Please take a moment and visit our website at to find out more about us and what we have to offer. Or contact us for additional information at: 818.585.9553 or 818.429.0077 or 443.838.4327.