Happy Summer everyone!

I just returned from a terrific vacation where I had time to reflect on some of the challenges we face as consultants. I re-read a book called “Switch- How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. I would like to share some insights from the book, especially those that address one of my favorite quotes which many of you know: “Clarity dissolves resistance”. I find it helpful to read and reflect when I’m challenged with a new problem, but even more so when I’m confronted by the SAME problems.

Some pearls from the book include a three-part framework to use in order change behavior and solve problems:

Direct the rider. Human behavior is like a rider on an elephant. The rider is logic, the elephant emotion.  Often what appears to be resistance, either in ourselves or the people we are leading, is often a lack of clarity. Provide crystal-clear instructions to assist you in achieving your goals.

 It is helpful to find someone with whom you can share your approach and language, practice rehearsing your delivery with, and then get immediate feedback in order to make modifications. I have shared with many of you that I think I’m crystal clear with my direction, but when my deliverables come back not as I expected, I reflect on how I delivered my message. Most of the time, it’s doing too many things at once. My lesson – SLOW DOWN and focus!

Motivate the Elephant. You must engage yourself and your people emotionally with the decision. What looks like laziness is more often exhaustion. Trying to get something done by force is exhausting. Getting emotional engagement is absolutely required to change behavior.

 I’m high energy and a morning person so it’s hard for me to understand why people don’t come flying out of bed in the morning! Learning to understand where people get their energy from, whether they are a morning or evening person, and how they prefer to communicate are challenges that I’m consistently working on! “You can’t beat a dead horse” rings true here. Knowing the signs and symptoms of people who are overwhelmed, or at “max capacity” is important for me to acknowledge so that I can adjust my approach. My lesson – Pay attention to the signs, and offer assistance.

Shape the Path. People problems are often disguised as situation problems.  Shape the Path and you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening to the Rider and the Elephant.

This one is a bit easier for me! My first inclination is to look at the situation and figure out what happened! 99% of the time there are issues, challenges, resources, etc. that are the root of the issue. Lately I find that I use HTS and/or industry lingo, e.g. “CTL, CPS, Day in the Life, FF&E, etc.” and haven’t sufficiently clarified what I mean or what is expected. My lesson – I need to step back and asking clarifying questions, or “Does anyone have any questions?” which has helped to have less resistance and non-compliant people!

I continue to be impressed with our team’s passion, level of expertise and commitment to “sharpening the saw”, particularly with our focus on improving our speaking skills as a team. I commend you in your commitment to achieving your goals!