Today’s blog is the first of three on the ‘Energy Investment’ model (1) and how it might relate to the choices you make during organisational change. So first let me ask:
- How much has your organisation been affected by the Pandemic?
- How much are you engaging with these changes?
- How is it affecting you and those around you?
If any of the above applies to you, the model might help you assess your response to the change and how it affects those around you.
Why? Because the Investment model describes four communities of people and their behaviour. Each based on a combination of two factors:
- The attitude someone has towards the change, either negative or positive.
- The energy someone chooses to invest in the implementation of that change, high or low.
So, thinking about the organisation you work for, and the changes you are facing, which category best describes you?
- Player – ‘Up for it, let’s make this work.’
- Victim – ‘Stuck in a rut, ‘nothing I do will make a difference.’
- Cynic – ‘Here we go, seen it all before, bought the tee-shirt.’
- Spectator – ‘Sounds like a great idea, I’ll cheer from the side-lines, just don’t ask me to get too involved.’
Whichever category you fall into, you are unlikely to be alone. However, there may well be more ‘Cynics’ than ‘Players’ depending on your organisation and the type of change it is going through. Past experiences may be causing you to react more negatively.
Circumstances that might induce ‘Cynicism’ or feelings of ‘Victim-hood’ include:
‘Working within a climate of fear’ – fear of making mistakes, taking risks and the consequences if things go wrong. In other words, there is little or no psychological safety (2).
Micromanagement – not being able to get on and deliver in the way you know is best, not being trusted to organise and get the job done.
No management – not having enough guidance and support, not being given enough information, boundaries, clarity on what is required. You are in an environment where there is a tendency to dump rather than delegate.
‘Lack of credit and recognition’ – people not being recognised and acknowledged for their input and contribution.
If your typical response is one of immediate distrust and disbelief, it may be that you fall into the category of Cynic. Particularly if you are choosing to invest your energy in undermining, the change, or at the very least actively sharing your ‘feelings’ with those around you.
To what extent is your cynicism warranted in this instance? Do you need to dig deeper into what is happening? How much are you assuming? What facts do you need to check?
It might be worth reflecting on whether this is temporary, relating to this situation. Or whether it is more pervasive, becoming your permanent home? In which case, what might you need to consider doing about it?
I believe that at the heart of the ‘cynic’ stance is a lack of trust. Either in the organisation, the management, colleagues or perhaps even in yourself and your ability to manage. So, it begs the question, ‘where did the trust go?’ or ‘what is the distrust based on?’
Perhaps it is time to reflect. Try and pinpoint the exact source and timing around the distrust; consider what it might take to rebuild or repair it. Do you need to be more actively involved and accountable for the change? Can you present your views and or concerns in a way that ensures you are heard?
Wherever you are, it is also worth considering the impact your stance might be having on others. If you are actively vocal about your feelings of ‘mistrust’, others may struggle with what they perceive as your ‘negativity’—possibly undermining your ability to communicate effectively.
So, take a step back and check with yourself – is this warranted? Which parts can I make a contribution to, which parts might I need to accept? Could I become part of an enhanced or improved solution? Or is it time to bail?
Until next time
- The Energy Investment model – based I believe on research by Dr Donald Tosti and C.S. Lineberry.
- “Psychological Safety is being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status, or career. It can be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.”
Source: – Wikipedia