When It’s Good To Lose Control

by Mike Audet on May 31, 2011

Business leaders can plan and set strategies but the real key to whether these plans are executed successfully is what their organization does after the plan is released.  Do they embrace the plan?  Do they start strong and then slip back to their old ways?  Do initiatives kick off with great promise and then lose momentum?  Do you find yourself having to continually push the plan rather than seeing full engagement by your staff?  Do you find that some of your staff get on board while others resist change?

Here’s the truth!

  • People will not change if they are in control
  • In order for people to change they must feel “out of control”.

This may seem like a wild idea at first glance but it really isn’t.  It’s the old “comfort zone” we have heard about so many times.  People change as a result of the physical, emotional and intellectual activity they are experiencing at any given time.  If a sufficient amount of tension is present, if they feel they are not in control, if they are out of their comfort zone, they reach what is known as the “Threshold of Activity” and they take action.   This graph what I am am saying.  As tension increases, in relation to an activity, it increases the likelihood that an individual will take action on that activity, up to a point.  If tension becomes too high, though, productivity will drop as well.

Productivity is directly related to the level of tension around any activity.  Too little tension and people won’t move.  Too much tension causes stress and productivity drops.

Take a Simple Test to Prove It

Think of some personal goal that you recently accomplished that you had not been able to get yourself to do previously.  Maybe it was losing weight, or exercising or reaching some business goal.  Now, think about what happened that pushed you over your “Threshold of Activation” to get you to actually take action.  Maybe the scale went over a number you had never seen before.  Maybe you got some bad news from a doctor and a warning to change your lazy ways.  Or maybe you slipped in your sales.  Or maybe your company created an incentive where the winner goes to Europe!  Something occurred, that changed the level of “tension” around that activity that caused you to take action.  We pay attention to the areas of life where there is the right amount of tension.  To little is not good and too much is terrible.

To learn more about how change really happens watch this video by the Tension Management Institute, the founder of ChangeWorks®.

WAV Group is a certified ChangeWorks® practitioner. If you would like to learn more about how ChangeWorks® can help your organization or to receive a personal, complimentary ChangeGrid analysis, contact us at:  716-839-4628, or mike@wavgroup.com

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