Why do some people find change stressful and others get agitated if there is not enough of it?  How can you implement change in a way that avoids stress and plays to people’s strengths?

Consider the context
Just think about it for a moment, what do you have for breakfast every working day?  It made me laugh the other day when my wife Pam was making fun of the fact that I can eat the very same breakfast every working day for years and years.  For me it’s a matter of convenience.  I don’t have to think about it and it fulfils my criteria of being simple to prepare and more importantly easy to eat on the 06.49 into Liverpool St.  Changing it frequently would be disruptive and stressful!

Let’s just shift the context from breakfast to work and ask; do you prefer consistency? i.e. “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!” or are you constantly looking for new and innovative ways to change and make things better?  You may actually be somewhere in between.

While I have a ‘sameness’ pattern for breakfast I have a ‘difference’ pattern in the context of work; I love the different challenges, types of projects and personalities my work presents.  A very strong desire for ‘difference’ was recently highlighted by one of my clients (let’s call him Steve).  He would say things like; “if it ain’t broken – break it” or “we need to shake things up and keep people on their toes!”

Listen to the language and look at the behaviour
It was not a surprise to discover that Steve’s business was suffering quite high labour turnover.  All he really wanted was to make sure his people were flexible to customer needs, open to change and constantly on the lookout for ways to improve their service.  However, it seemed that people had some issues with this because they were voting with their feet.

When I first met Steve through a referral I found it easy to build rapport because as a ‘Change Agent’ my ‘difference’ pattern naturally matched his preference and linguistic style.  He liked my initial approach because I explained how unique, different and innovative Inspired Working can be. 

However, when I got to speak with managers and staff the true picture emerged.  Much of the current stress, and disruption to people’s working patterns were caused by Steve’s relentless attempts to implement the latest ‘Change Management’ ideas that he had been reading about in management books.  I was only able to engage the managers by adapting my natural tendency to use ‘difference’ language.  I shifted my vocabulary to explaining that Inspired Working also uses some tried and tested methodologies that enable a consistent approach to management and people development;  that we would work together to keep what works well and improve only what really requires it.

After some coaching and profiling of Steve and his Management team, we were able to establish that most of the managers and staff had a high need for consistency and ‘sameness’.  What is interesting is that Steve ‘got it’ and started using phrases and language that would make it easier for his team to accept and adapt to what he wanted, without getting them stressed about it all ‘changing yet again’. 

It’s not what you say – it’s how you say it
Steve began explaining how “the core of what we do will stay the same” and when introducing new ideas he would think about all the things it had in common with the previous approach, how maintaining standards was still the same goal and keeping the best aspects of how they worked was important.

The management team also discovered how to engage Steve in their ideas by emphasising the difference it would make if he were to let them set up their own new and unique improvement teams that could work unlike anything else by changing the way staff and managers discussed issues.

The Language and Behavioural Profile (LAB) is a very powerful tool that lets you Understand, Predict and Influence others by identifying their motivational drivers and how they process information by just listening to how they speak.

The funny thing about LAB is that even when you know it is being done, it still works at a profound level to engage, motivate and influence.

What is your preference; sameness or difference?  Remember, it may be a bit of both – and you may want to consider the preferences of your team and your clients?  Are you using their language?

Adopt Flexibility
If you are interested in a new way of looking at the motivation of your people and how to elegantly influence your clients, we have some very innovative approaches that will transform what you hear and how you respond to others.  However, if consistency and reliability is the key for you we have a proven, tried and tested approach that you can depend on to consistently engage your people and your clients. 

Why not try it for yourself by adapting some of the phrases you naturally use and notice the results.

This is very powerful stuff and only you can know if it will be useful to find out more about the LAB Profile or its online companion the iWAM Profile (inventory of Work Attitude and Motivation).   These Motivational Profiles are like a fingerprint that can uncover and decode below-conscious behaviour patterns.  They give you the words and phrases that will engage and motivate your people.  Many clients are already finding it is giving them very powerful ways to manage staff, drive performance and even to communicate more effectively with their own clients.  See our Case Studies for more.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from motivation and behavioural profiling please contact Gloria at [email protected].

Remember . . . Stay curious!

With best regards

David Klaasen is director and owner of the niche HR consultancy, Inspired Working Ltd.  (www.InspiredWorking.com)
If you have a communication or performance problem and would like some objective advice drop him a line at
[email protected].

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