Tap Your Introverted Side in Change

As a strong introvert, and a Coach and Consultant frequently asked to work with leaders (both introverts, ambiverts and extroverts), taking time to plan  and leading change while instilling calm comes as second nature.  I have also learned that my introverted clients are more likely to take action rather than step back when chaos hits.   But, before you tell me this isn’t true for all extroverts, I agree.  It’s just they manage chaos and change differently!

Have you noticed that when you are in the midst of change you feel like you are in chaos, even when things are going Ask an Introvertas planned? I know I do. When my clients are experiencing change in their careers or businesses, they frequently want to place things on hold so they can catch their breath. More often than not I help them see that it is better to live in the chaos and push forward than to stall their progress.

Change is hard and I think its only human to resist rapid change that pushes you into overwhelm.  I also believe it’s normal for things to feel somewhat chaotic when you are making progress.  As you learn new things, change routines, you have to stop and think.  Each change pushes you out of your comfort zone and may feel like you have lost control.

The key to managing this ‘lack of control’ or ‘chaos’ is to have a good plan in place.  Introverts often step away, even if only for a short time, to have quiet time to contemplate and consider the situation and next steps.  They can be very decisive yet thrive with a moment of quiet.  Extroverts frequently have a tendency to jump in an take action immediately.  This may come at the expense the longer term plan.

The plan will help you know when you are on course or detouring. When you ensure  your plan has key milestones included — times when specific items will be completed or are transferred to someone else to complete. These milestones allow you to recognize progress. They will also enable you to “weather the storm” when everything seems to be off-kilter.

Remember, review your plan. Tweak it regularly as new information comes to light and keep on marching forward. Before you know it, things will get back to normal and you will get back into your ‘normal grove’.

Regardless of your leadership style or personality traits, when in the midst of change, it is important to find an approach that allows you to continue to lead, go with the flow and instill calmness with your team, accept the uncertainties that you may feel, work your plan and celebrate your successes. You will be glad you did!

 

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.”

 Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Create Great Action Plans to Drive Results

How often have we been told that you must visualize what you want or you will never get there?  One of the 7 habits by Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was

Start with the end in mind.”

If you want to make a change, you have to know what it is you want to do.  (Your Vision) To create a clear vision it’s important to step up and have an open mind for new opportunities and ways of doing things.  This may take some time and energy but its time well spent!

I have been working with my clients to create action plans so they can complete their project goals in a very tight timeline.  The planning process has gone exceptionally well but sometimes it can be very challenging.  This is where time spent gaining clarity in what you want to accomplish is so important.  If you aren’t specific with the outcome, how can you plan the steps to get you there?

I love the Deming Cycle as a tool for planning and executing projects. This management tool has four key phases… “Plan Do Check Act“.  PDCA, also known as PDSA (Plan Do Study Act), offers businesses a proven method to control and manage the processes and systems within their organization for continuous quality improvement (CQI).  Who doesn’t want to continually be more productive (get more done), be more efficient (use people and other resources better) and improve results (make more money)?

Here is a breakdown of the steps in the PDCA cycle (as outlined in wikipedia)

“PLAN

Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals). By establishing output expectations, the completeness and accuracy of the specification is also a part of the targeted improvement. When possible start on a small scale to test possible effects.

DO

Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis in the following “CHECK” and “ACT” steps.Every time you create something new you want to test it.  This is the purpose of this step.  Test your new system, new program or product.  Identify what’s working, what needs tweeking, what’s not working and needs to be fixed.

CHECK (STUDY)

Study the actual results (measured and collected in “DO” above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the “PLAN”) to ascertain any differences. Look for deviation in implementation from the plan and also look for the appropriateness and completeness of the plan to enable the execution, i.e., “Do”. Charting data can make this much easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles and in order to convert the collected data into information. Information is what you need for the next step “ACT”.

ACT

Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Analyse the differences to determine their root causes. Determine where to apply changes that will include improvement of the process or product. When a pass through these four steps does not result in the need to improve, the scope to which PDCA is applied may be refined to plan and improve with more detail in the next iteration of the cycle, or attention needs to be placed in a different stage of the process.”

 

When you’ve been good at something one way its hard to change — Get uncomfortable, push outward and fulfill your full potential.  To be competitive in the marketplace, or to fulfill the strategic plan for your business, it is important for you to lead yourself and your team through a clear process to achieve the results in the most efficient and productive way.  Planning is often under performed.

A good plan should:

  • Be written down
  • Have goals attached so you know what you want to achieve
  • Include specific action steps  or tasks so you know if it was completed or not
  • Have a specific person assigned to each task (for accountability)
  • Have a timeline attached (so there are deadlines and a continual focus on moving forward)
  • Be reviewed regularly
  • Recognize accomplishments  (don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments)

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Napoleon Hill 

A Coach or mentor is a valuable resource to help you become clear on what you want to achieve, understanding all the steps you must take to get there, and to identify which resources are needed.   A Coach can also support you when things are challenging, and better yet, celebrate with you when you are successful!!  They can be your confident, sounding board, resource and help you remain focused on your goal.  We offer a “done for you” and a “done with you” option to fit your specific needs.

It’s been said that of all people
who say they’re ready

for change,
only 20% of them
are ready for action.
Are You Ready?


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Catherine Rocheleau, Founder & CEO of Ignite Leadership International ® helps business leaders and entrepreneurs build leadership, engage teams and enhance systems so they keep more of what they are making!  Our coaching, consulting and masterminds focus on your goals and the systems that drive your results!   Book a complimentary Ignite Your Business Session to explore your next steps (http://bit.ly/NextSteps4U)

Uncertainties Aside

In my March 30th post, I spoke about the top three excuses people use to avoid spending the time and energy necessary to plan for success.  In continuing on the planning theme, I will explore the benefits of planning and how they can push uncertainties to the sidelines.

I frequently make the analogy between a road map and the plans created in business.  Your vision is the destination and what will be achieved when the implementation plan (your business road map) is successfully executed.

Image:  Stuart Miles | www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles | www.freedigitalphotos.net

Execute

Failure to execute a project well can be a major obstacle for a business leader.  Failing to execute can result from a lack of clarity of what is to be done, lack of understanding on how to implement steps, or procrastination or even fear of failure.

Your business or project plan should outline in detail

  • the steps that need to be taken & how they will be accomplished,
  • who is accountable,
  • when that step should be started and end,
  • what resources are needed.

Your plan provides the clear direction that you and your team require to effectively and efficiently move a project forward.  It will also keep you focused on where you are at any point in time and able to celebrate the successes as you hit key milestones.

Mitigate Risk

Whenever you decide to implement a change, the decision is accompanied with some risk.  What happens if the changes are not successful?  What happens if… the cost savings are not realized? …or the profits aren’t increased? … or staff fail to be more productive?  Business leaders must learn to identify information quickly and effectively and make decisions with the information they have at hand.  Waiting too long can be costly in time, resources, and outcomes!  Making a decision too quickly can also be detrimental.

Planning reduces uncertainties by forcing you to look at what is on the horizon and anticipate these events.  You can then take steps to act, mitigate risk or change direction.  Part of the planning process should include a risk assessment.  What are known risks?  What are the limiting factors?  What steps would mitigate the risks?  How do the risks change when variables are modified?

Risk is further mitigated when you use any new information that becomes available to reevaluate your action plan and either stay the course, stop, or change direction.

Change Direction

Your plan is a working document but when you have taken the time to think through the risks and limiting factors associated with each stage, the need to make major changes should be all but eliminated.  Every change will have something pop up that was unexpected, or deemed to be a low or negligible risk.   As such, detours may be needed and the plan must be altered.

A change in direction can be viewed as a set-back or part of the change process.  It can also be viewed as an opportunity to make improvements or incorporate new options into the plan.

How will you react to the need to change direction?  With a strong plan, your ability to make informed decisions improves, which increases your   success rate.

 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin

If you are ready to examine your business strategy,  plan a new project, review systems and processes to improve efficiencies  or implement changes to grow your business… contact me.   Let’s explore how my consulting, project management or coaching programs could help you.

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