Choosing Change, by Sonia Georgiadou

So much has been written about change already and yet there is so much more to come. And it seems to me that while the word is used extensively both in the workplace and in our personal life it is often hard for us to digest its real meaning. We talk about a constantly changing world a world within which we have no choice but to innovate or adjust in order to survive. But is really change all about adjustment to the circumstances and is change really so outward looking as it often appears to be?

Throughout the just over 30 years of my corporate career I have always seen change as either the need to constantly come with new ideas for improving people and processes or a need to be adaptable to change. Yet it was only through my coaching practice and continuous learning that I started experiencing change differently and giving it a deeper meaning.

Change actually starts from within. It starts with our acceptance that ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ and we are curious to constantly explore and tirelessly discover those parts of our self that yet remain unexplored. Each challenge offers an opportunity to make a decision, to choose one path versus another. Yet, what happens is that we are often locked in one sole decision, our decision, the only right answer.  And other times we get stuck between two options or more, desperately looking for the right decision and struggling to conclude. In either case, it is our need to do what is ‘right’ that blocks our learning and growth.  And it is at this everyday moment that our resistance to change begins without us even being aware. In other words, it is our lack of awareness that makes change hard. It is our lack of awareness that leads to ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘immunity to change’. It is our lack of awareness that limits self--‐development and makes organizational change so very hard.

So, how do we raise awareness? In their recently published book Choosing Change, Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy suggest a five ‘Ds ’ framework for change – ‘disruption’, desire, discipline, determination and development.  Although all phases are equally important, what makes a distinct point to me is ‘disruption’.  It is an opportunity we all regularly have to change or leave things are they are, as we know them to be, as they feel comfortable. Disruption is a discomfort that activates our defense mechanism and locks us into protecting what is familiar. Disruption is an invitation to the  ‘unknown’, a territory we often choose to avoid. But a passive response to disruption cannot lead to change. What can lead to a turning point and eventually to change is the courage to disrupt and challenge the discomfort. This is indeed a necessary step for offering ourselves a choice. Shall I stay with what I know or shall I challenge the status quo and learn?

I was speaking with a client two months ago who had difficulty organizing his time. While exploring we talked about sleeping patterns too. He said that he is not an early bird and that he performs better at night. I challenged his habit and suggested that he gives it a try to take advantage of the morning hours and see what happens. He did, and a firm belief that he had about himself automatically changed! It was only after allowing himself the ‘disruption’ that he could actually see the trap of his routine but also the mindset that was handling him unaware that he had a choice! Needless to say, he is a very coachable client!

What is your own example of ‘disruption’?

Sonia Georgiadou (www.soniageorgiadou.com) is an international INSEAD and ITC certified business coach with 33 years of corporate experience in multinational organisations such as HSBC, Midland Bank, Bank of America and Beecham Pharmaceuticals. Her last corporate leadership role was Chief Administration Officer at HSBC bank, while she is currently entirely dedicated to adding value through facilitating organisational transformation. Sonia’s mission is to add value through measurable outcomes that enhance effectiveness and unlock potential.  Her approach to change management is people-oriented and focuses on helping individuals, teams, and organizations make those personal and collective changes that are most important to them in experiencing meaningful progress. 



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