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Annicken R. Day: Why change-pain is the only constant

With her experience in developing corporate cultures, teams and organisations in constantly changing markets and business landscapes, Annicken R. Day recently gave her three fundamental skills for great Change Leaders:

Communicating with people’s minds.

In Stephen Covey’s classic and brilliant book “7 habits of highly effective people”, habit number 5 is this: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. The greatest Change Leaders I know, listen more than they speak. They meet people where they are, listen to their concerns, generously share and discuss and invite to dialogue about the changes ahead. They gladly explain, give examples, tell stories and give their people the opportunity to engage with the process, to understand the facts behind it, the reasons why change is needed and what the future ideally will look like.

As people we tend to resist changes decided over our heads. Feeling involved and listened to, makes it easier for us to accept change, whether we can influence them or not, and motivates us to make a real effort in making them happen.

Connecting with people’s hearts.

In his book “Emotional Intelligence”, psychologist and researcher Daniel Goleman, writes: “in a very real sense we have 2 minds, one who thinks and one who feels”. Great Change Leaders are aware that just addressing the rational argument of change is not enough, people also need to believe it, feel it and want it. Recent findings within the field of neuroscience has proved that human beings are not as rational as we like to think we are, on the contrary we are highly emotional beings with a great talent for “dressing up” our emotional decision so they look like rational ones.

When we understand why a change needs to happen and are emotionally invested in the positive outcome of it, we naturally gravitate towards finding new and better solution to deliver on the purpose and vision of the ideal future we are trying to create.

Enduring the pain.

This is perhaps the rarest and most important skill that only the greatest Change Leaders master. This is the phase where most change efforts evaporate into thin air, are stopped, changed or simply just doesn’t happen. Sigmund Freud described the phenomena with his “pleasure and pain principle”; that people by nature seek immediate gratification of needs and do whatever we can to avoid pain.

If given the choice, people mostly choose to stay within their comfort zones, which means doing things the way they always have. In a world in constant change, that is probably not the best idea.

Change is per definition pain. Or at its best; very uncomfortable. Just ask the caterpillar who became a butterfly. But then also ask her afterwards whether it was worth it. Change pain almost always is. Yet we resist it as crazy.

The greatest Change Leaders understand this and consciously and persistently endure the pain of change, while inspiring the people they lead to do the same.

Annicken R Day Keynote Speaker

More about Annicken R. Day

Annicken R. Day has 15 years’ experience of building world-class corporate cultures. Therefore, she works on inspiring and building effective leadership teams and highly engaged organisations wired for collaboration, innovation and growth.

In her years as Chief Cultural Officer for the global IT company Tandberg, the company was recognised for its unique culture. It was awarded Best Place to Work in Norway 3 years in a row, while experiencing an annual growth of 50% and becoming a global market leader in the video-conference industry. In 2010 the company was sold to Cisco for US$ 3.3 billion.

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So, to read Annicken’s speaker profile, click here. And to read the full article in the Huffington Post, click here.