It's an Inside Job

Change Management Unleashed: An Exploration of Effective Strategies.

November 20, 2023 Jason Birkevold Liem Season 4 Episode 21
Change Management Unleashed: An Exploration of Effective Strategies.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
Change Management Unleashed: An Exploration of Effective Strategies.
Nov 20, 2023 Season 4 Episode 21
Jason Birkevold Liem

Send us a Text Message.

Do you struggle with adapting to change and wish you had the tools to navigate it more effectively? What if embracing change could be your superpower, enabling you to create a better future? If you're ready to master the art of change, this episode is for you.

In this episode, we explore the topic of change with guest Neil Hanley, an expert in HR management and change management strategies. Neil emphasizes the importance of pattern recognition in adapting to change and the need for self-awareness in differentiating between reactions and choices. He explains how different personalities, stress tolerance, and strengths influence our approach to change.

Imagine navigating change with confidence and resilience, turning challenges into opportunities for growth. 

By listening to this episode, you can:

  1. Understand Change Dynamics: Learn how recognizing patterns and understanding personal differences can help you adapt to change more effectively.
  2. Gain Control and Influence: Discover strategies to manage change by gaining more control and influence over the process.
  3. Enhance Resilience: Develop tools and techniques to build resilience and create a compelling narrative to engage with change positively.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Effective Change Management: Understand the role of control and influence in managing change and how to guide and support others through the process.
  2. Improved Self-Awareness: Learn to differentiate between reactions and choices, and recognize the importance of giving people time to process change.
  3. Enhanced Personal Growth: Gain insights into challenging your thoughts, seeking alternative perspectives, and valuing failures as progress.

Learn practical tools and strategies to manage change, build resilience, and thrive in an ever-evolving world. Start your journey towards mastering change today!

Neil Hanley's  contact information: 
LinkedIn:        https://www.linkedin.com/in/neilhanley/
Website:        https://www.hanley.no/

CONNECT WITH ME:
webpage:   www.MINDtalk.no
Instagram  @itsaninsidejob_MINDtalk
LinkedIn:    @JasonLiem
Twitter:      @MINDtalkCoach
Email:           mindtalk@email.com

Tags
episode, change, Neil Hanley, expert, HR management, change management strategies, pattern recognition, adapting, self-awareness, control, influence, storytelling, challenging thoughts, embracing change, superpower, practical tools, success, navigating, organizations

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Send us a Text Message.

Do you struggle with adapting to change and wish you had the tools to navigate it more effectively? What if embracing change could be your superpower, enabling you to create a better future? If you're ready to master the art of change, this episode is for you.

In this episode, we explore the topic of change with guest Neil Hanley, an expert in HR management and change management strategies. Neil emphasizes the importance of pattern recognition in adapting to change and the need for self-awareness in differentiating between reactions and choices. He explains how different personalities, stress tolerance, and strengths influence our approach to change.

Imagine navigating change with confidence and resilience, turning challenges into opportunities for growth. 

By listening to this episode, you can:

  1. Understand Change Dynamics: Learn how recognizing patterns and understanding personal differences can help you adapt to change more effectively.
  2. Gain Control and Influence: Discover strategies to manage change by gaining more control and influence over the process.
  3. Enhance Resilience: Develop tools and techniques to build resilience and create a compelling narrative to engage with change positively.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Effective Change Management: Understand the role of control and influence in managing change and how to guide and support others through the process.
  2. Improved Self-Awareness: Learn to differentiate between reactions and choices, and recognize the importance of giving people time to process change.
  3. Enhanced Personal Growth: Gain insights into challenging your thoughts, seeking alternative perspectives, and valuing failures as progress.

Learn practical tools and strategies to manage change, build resilience, and thrive in an ever-evolving world. Start your journey towards mastering change today!

Neil Hanley's  contact information: 
LinkedIn:        https://www.linkedin.com/in/neilhanley/
Website:        https://www.hanley.no/

CONNECT WITH ME:
webpage:   www.MINDtalk.no
Instagram  @itsaninsidejob_MINDtalk
LinkedIn:    @JasonLiem
Twitter:      @MINDtalkCoach
Email:           mindtalk@email.com

Tags
episode, change, Neil Hanley, expert, HR management, change management strategies, pattern recognition, adapting, self-awareness, control, influence, storytelling, challenging thoughts, embracing change, superpower, practical tools, success, navigating, organizations

Support the Show.


Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday

Transcript


[0:00] Music.


Introduction to It's an Inside Job podcast


[0:09] Back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Now this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionally resilient, so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience, into practical advice, skills, and strategies that you can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now with that said, let's slip into the stream.

[0:37] Music.


Embracing Change: The Only Constant in Life


[0:45] Well, welcome back to the show, and I'm glad that you can join me for another week in allowing me to be part of your week.
There is a famous quote by Heraclitus, which reminds us that, quote, "'Change is the only constant in life,' end quote.
Change is an undeniable force touches every aspect of our existence, and we are all aware of its inevitability. Yet, it is curious how we often find ourselves resistant to change when it arrives at our doorsteps.
The human experience is marked by a paradoxical relationship with change.
While we intellectually comprehend its presence in our life, we may struggle to embrace it wholeheartedly. It's in these moments of initial resistance that we have the opportunity to transform discomfort into growth, adapting to the ever-evolving world around us.
Embracing change rather than fearing it allows us to write our own narrative of resilience, and equanimity. And so this week I am joined and am privileged to be joined by a fellow Canadian, Neil Hanley. Now Neil has held pivotal senior HR management positions in some of Norway's largest corporations, focusing on leadership, change and learning. Currently he leads the way as the the manager of strategy and change for a prominent business area at Equinor, a role that places him at the forefront of organizational transformation.

[2:10] Change is not just a buzzword to Neil, it's a passion, a calling, and a cornerstone of his career.
Today, we're going to delve into the depth of Neil's wisdom and experience to uncover why change is such a fascinating and vital topic for organizations and individuals alike.
We will explore what Neil has discovered about the key insights that can help people navigate change successfully.
How can individuals and organizations manage change effectively in an ever-evolving world?
Moreover, we will touch upon the intriguing intersection of change and resilience.
Neil with his wealth of knowledge will share the methods he personally employs to strengthen his own resilience.
He'll guide us through the unique Fieldthink 2 Personal Resilience Recipe, which promises to be a game changer for anyone seeking to thrive in times of uncertainty.
So without further ado, let's slip into the stream and meet Neil Hanley.

[3:04] Music.


Introduction and background of the guest


[3:14] I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today.
I was wondering, Neil, maybe I'd like to begin the conversations by my guest briefly introducing who they are and what they're about.
Sure. I'm a Canadian living in Norway, sort of born and raised and educated in Canada, and then I came over with a Norwegian wife, ended up in Norway, so I've been living in the Oslo area since about 2005.
My career has mostly been educated in psychology, I discovered psychology and thought, wow, this is so fantastic a topic for me, it really lights my fire.
So I decided to go to all the way to the PhD level and began sort of applying psychology both in mental health and also in the business world.
And I've been working in several Fortune 500 companies in the last many years in a lot of different HR roles.
And I think the main theme across has been the sort of core fundamental about human beings, which is sort of change processes and learning.
Sort of runs across all the work I do, I think.

[4:26] And that's one of the major reasons I wanted to have you on the show because it's just that, it's change. I think change is the sort of standard DNA of how we move into modern society.
Considering some of the major issues like the geopolitical tensions, climate change, AI, machine learning, and everything else in that bucket we can call change. And I think for a lot of people and a lot of organizations, they're just trying to make sense of it. And I think to to some extent, the pandemic in a twisted sense was a good thing because it forced us to look at our lives again. We had become, maybe not complacent, but we got used to everything in our lives. And then when everything got stripped due to health and isolation and what have you, we became tourists in our own lives and we actually started appreciating all those things that we missed. But it was a big change that hit us on an individual family organization and a national level. And so I wanted to have a discourse with you on change and specifically how we can find equanimity and resilience in a sea of change. So perhaps we could maybe, maybe you could sort of talk about change and sort of the big theme in your career and your interest and why change is something that really lights your fire that you've specialized in.

[5:52] Yeah, I think early on I found, especially I was working in business and also in mental health and in academia all at the same time, and one of my favorite things, if I have a talent for something, it's probably finding patterns across and finding the sort of core fundamentals across different disciplines.
And that's what I found, the sort of fundamentals about human beings, how we adapt to change.
And I would go as far to say, to be honest, I think change isn't always easy, but change is the human superpower.
We're not the biggest, the strongest, we're not the fastest, we don't have big sharp teeth, but one thing human beings, you know, is special about us is this ability to adapt to change in all kinds of different environments and circumstances.
So yes, we have all these crazy changes happening around us in the world, this sort of VUCA.

[6:51] Context, as your listeners are probably familiar with that term by now.
But we're, I mean, this is something that we are made for. We are made for adapting to change.
It doesn't always feel good, but we're good at it. And not only that, with this big forebrain that we have, we're able to actually create change and drive change. We're able to imagine a future that's different than it is today, that's better, and make a plan together to move towards that, you know, or as individuals, teams, or a whole organization. So I think it's, yes, change can be difficult but it's sort of this is what we're good at.


Pattern recognition and adaptation to change


[7:32] You said change is a superpower. It's sort of our ability to evolve to a situation, to, in some sense, to project. Our brains can project how the future may play out and that helps us to adapt to change. You know, for some time now, the scientists have described the brain as a pattern recognition machine. For example, we might look at a rock protrusion or a cliff face and actually see a face in it. It's not to say there's actually a face, but it's something that the brain does called pareidolia.
It's our brain's ability to try to make sense of a nonsensical world to find patterns where there may not be actually any pattern. Can you speak a little to pattern recognition in the sense of change and how that helps us to adapt to change?

[8:25] Yeah, yeah, that's an actually interesting, it can kind of work for us and against us.
Because we like to find patterns and we like to create patterns.
So we, we, you know, we will adapt to a new situation partly by creating a new pattern as new way of doing things, some habits, etc.
And then when there is a need to change, sometimes that we're in need, we need to actually use our abilities to disrupt that pattern.
So that's where some of the discomfort and the so-called resistance to change can come from disrupting those comfortable patterns.
Um, but I, I think it's fair to say that, you know, forget sometimes that human beings, we don't just want comfort. We want to actually, uh, things not to be the same pattern all the time.
That's gets sexually quite boring.
It's comfortable, but, uh, to work at our best, we need to be able to, to, to disrupt those patterns and have at least some changes, especially when we're in control of it ourselves, then it's a really great, or at least if we're involved and have some influence.
I think the pattern recognition is, that's the best way to change is to actually be out front.
If you can sort of see the patterns, changes in the context around you, whether it's global themes or something in your country or your industry or in the context of your organization or your personal life at home, seeing that there's this pattern, something, there's different.

[9:55] Needs here.

[9:56] You know, you and I are both parents, so you see your kids changing and their needs are are different at different ages, so maybe you need to adapt your parenting style or some of the rules or whatever it is that you have at home.

[10:08] So having that pattern recognition, not just going through the day to day, as you said, we can get stuck into being tourists in our own lives and just going through the motions, but trying to keep that scanning, that situational awareness broadly, and seeing opportunity to to create a change ourselves.


Embracing Change with Self-Awareness


[10:33] Yeah, that's the ideal way. And then sometimes some of the changes are just going to happen to you and you have to adapt in, a slightly more passive way. But yeah, I really would recommend people to look for those opportunities to change before you need to.
You know, I don't think anyone and any of our listeners is new to change. I mean, it's been with us since forever. But I I guess the difference between someone who reacts to change and someone who's reflective and then chooses to act to change comes down to some level of self-awareness.
And what I hear you speaking to, Neil, is that for someone to recognize the patterns, they need to stop up and stop up sort of their automatic, habitual way reacting to something new that enters their life.
Let's say it shows up on their doorstep uninvited. Let's say it's that.
You know, you said we have the superpower in order to adapt as humans in general.
But I guess there's a different level.
Some people tend to be much better at adapting, evolving to change or equanimity than others.
And so, from your experience, clinical and corporate experience, what makes the difference between two people can have the same exact thing happen to them but react completely differently.

[11:54] That's great i'm so glad that you asked that question this is something i discovered doing leadership training is that even a lot of experience leaders some of them they don't.
I didn't occur to them which surprised me a lot and occurred to them that people are actually different from them who react quite differently to change.
You know, we all have the ability to adapt to change and sort of be proactive, but based, on your personality, if your listeners have heard of the five-factor model of personality, or really any model of personality, each different personality variable has influence on the way that you sort of perceive, react to change, or how much change that you typically can handle at one time, at least as a starting point, there's lots of other factors, of course. But I mean, starting with there's a personality characteristic openness to experience very directly related to your, your openness to change, really openness to other ideas, different ways of doing things. So people scoring high and that will typically be the ones often scanning, what's new ideas? What's the new trend? How could I do something different?

[13:04] Whereas people scoring low, and that kind of personality, variable, they really like to get into a regular routine, and they will really not want to change as much, so they have less interest in changing.
And both of those are important. We need the people who are actually a bit more conservative and say, well, let's hold on to the way we're doing stuff.
It's been working.
You know, we're all still alive and thriving, so let's hold on to that.
We need that. We don't want to just change willy-nilly all over the time.
So that's a really important point to get across. All of the personalities have different reactions to change, but those reactions are actually really important.
Then we could take something like people's stress tolerance, for example.
Some people can handle the stress of a lot more change, even if it's just happening to them and they're not in control.

[13:56] That's the more stressful, but some people can just handle a lot more stress.
And others, they need a little bit lower level of stress, a little bit less change at one time and maybe more time to process it etc. So very different reactions to change all of which have their strengths and that's one of the things that there's sort of three main things I try to make sure that everyone knows about change and that's one of the big core ones that we are different we react differently to change so expect people to react differently give them space to react differently and ideally try to use their strengths of the personality and channel those into a really good sort of change plan.


Three Key Points about Change: Diversity, Control, and Time


[14:39] So these three, you said we are different, you know, to understand that each of us approaches change in a different way with different angle based on upon our experience or background or cultural, what have you.
And the second is we react differently.
Or is that part of the first one?
Could you just go back and articulate the three points that you tend to speak to when it comes to change?
Yeah, sure. There's a recap. Yeah, those two I would say are the same.
People are diverse and we have different ways to react to change and each of those reactions isn't necessarily bad.
It's easy to label someone as resistant to change.
That's actually a good thing. That's part of the reactions that are important for human beings to really challenge changes.
So anyway, we are different.
That's one of the sort of three theoretical fundamentals I'd like people to know.
Whether they are a leader or a person in an organization or just for themselves individually reacting to change.

[15:44] So recognize that you're different and ideally get to know yourself.
Understand what is your personality and sort of starting point.
Do you typically like a lot of change, not so much change? So understand yourself and understand that not everyone's going to be the same as you.
So we're different was number one. Second one is when it comes to change, control is king.
The academic literature is very clear that the more control you have over a change or at least the influence that you can have over that change, the better it tends to go.

[16:21] So if you're a therapist or coach, pushing someone into doing something to sort of face their fears, if they have a phobia, let's say, really pushing them hard to do it is not really what you want to do.
You want them to voluntarily take on that challenge of something difficult.
So that's fundamental. the more control and influence you can give people the change, the better it goes.
So that's the second. The third is that change is a process. People need time to process the change.
So in that case, if you're say running change in an organization, recognize that you make a realistic timeline that will give you time to involve people as much as you can.
And give them time to sort of discuss and process.

[17:15] You know, you mentally have to disrupt a familiar pattern. And so it takes time for people to understand, okay, why are we really doing this? Why is it necessary?
What's the future way going to look like? How's that going to affect me?
What do I need to do differently?
Do I need to build skills, et cetera? They need time to sort of think through all that.
So the cognitively to take the time to process it, but also emotionally, there's sort of an emotional cycle, that you tend to go through when it comes to changes.

[17:48] And it's not a straight cycle either. It might, you might jump all around in that cycle.
And that's just as normal for people to go through those cycles.
Some go through it fast, some go through it slow.
But the point is to give yourself or others time to process that and realize that they'll be at different stages of processing, depending on when they first heard of the change or starting to affect them.
And I think that third point you said, the time to process the change, because, you know, we both have clinical background in psychology, and when I used to work with trauma, you know, one of the things, one of the major things that helped people make sense of what happened to them was their ability to process the emotion.
And we've spoken many times on the show where, you know, emotions are more our information.
And when we take on that information, maybe it's not always the best information, or sometimes it could be very accurate information, but not to take those emotions as instructions as to what to do to, as you said before, to stop up, see the pattern, recognize what those emotions are and sort of assess.

[18:57] And when you said processes change, I like what you really said is kind of, especially in organizations, when you're mapping, to help people map what we're going to do and what the future may be like.
I think that's what we talked about at the top of this or at this of this conversation where you said, we have this superhuman ability to kind of project into the future to create some sense of certainty. And I think that's very important. I'm in and out of organizations all the time. And sometimes an organization will implement change. But sometimes it comes to a shock to the system, especially if it's up change after change after change. People have not even settled before new change comes. And I think part of what you're saying is explaining the what the changes but why we're having the change in the why of the reasoning makes sense. People may not always like the idea but if they understand the reasoning behind something then you you get some level of buy-in or ownership. I was wondering if you could speak a little to that. I know you work in a big corporation yourself and I'm sure it's susceptible to a lot of changes. Could you speak a little about that part?

[20:06] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think that's a great starting point when it comes to the topic of changes. Why do we need to change? Why is it important for change? And we did talk about it earlier, the context, the world changes, whether we like it or not, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, and it's sort of, you know, adapt or die is strong language, but you know, adapt to thrive is maybe a nicer way to say that.
And also, you know, if you want to get the best out of people, you need to sort of paint a compelling future towards them that, you know, maybe things are actually quite good today, but it could be even better, and maybe they could be like this, and what if we make a plan to try to reach this particular kind of goal.
So to really inspire and to get the best out of people, most people, they want to actually to go in a direction that's something that's different and better than it is today.


Change and Engagement: The Power of Visualization


[21:10] So, change is really the tool that sort of gets us there. And doing it in the best possible way together is something that tends to get the best engagement from people.
You want the best engagement, the best performance, then doing change and doing it in a good way is the way to get there. What I hear is you said, we need to paint leadership or management or what have you, the organization needs to paint a compelling picture.

[21:40] And the brain is 75, 70-75% of the real estate upstairs is the ability to visualize.
And so a lot of times when I'm coaching or acting as a sparring partner, what I try to get the person to do is to be as descriptive as possible, to use descriptive adjectives, nouns, what have you, to paint that picture.
Because if the brain can visualize it, then there's a sense of confidence that comes over.
And from that confidence, you know, we have that there's that self-awareness.
You know, if you had to ask a set of questions, I mean, I know we can't go through a whole recipe of these questions, but what would be for a manager thinking that he or she needs to instill some sort of change?
What would be some specific questions that a manager he or she could ask to involve their people?

[22:30] Hmm. That's great. That's great. I just want to make a mental note for us, maybe to come back to this stuff about the stories people tell themselves about change. Maybe we can come back to that after, because, I think with your background with trauma and also in organizations, that could be a really interesting thing to talk about. Yeah, I normally have a good list of these kinds of questions I usually use coming into my own teams or in change processes, but the typically follow around, you know, a few, a few type of things, um, asking people, you know, what's, what's working, you know, what is working well.
So, you know, you, you want to.
You know, like we talked about those conservative personalities, where are the things that we want to conserve that maybe we should hold on to that this is working quite well. Thank you.

[23:22] And where the pain points for them sort of on the ground people doing the job what is the sort of difficult part of their day or parts of the process what interfaces are working so those kind of pain points are really key.
So then you get a bit of the what's working what's not working and then also unlock some of their their creativity that sort of imagination is like what what do you think could be some low hanging fruits.
The possible changes that we could make.
Then maybe even one of the questions I like is, how would you finish the sentence, wouldn't it be great if, and then dot, dot, dot.
That seems to do something to get people to think about, whether it's the stakeholder or someone in the team.
There might be some minimum requirements of how we'd like things to be.
How we would define success, for example, It's a very good question, but I usually, when I've asked, how would you define success?
You know, what, what would great look like, et cetera, and also adding on that, uh, what else, what else wouldn't it be great if what, uh, sometimes you get these sort of nice to have, but some of those nice to haves have a kernel of what could be a really great idea to take things to a completely different level.

[24:43] So unlock some of that creativity. So the good, the bad, and the unlocking their ideas in general.
Like I said, that's for stakeholders and also in the team.
And those three things, those kind of questions, they trigger three things that I think are very important.
And things that you've addressed that you articulate quite eloquently in those three points earlier, is to create a map, to create a sense of certainty.
People can talk when they can feel they have sort of some ownership or buy-in.
That also leads to a second thing, a sense of influence or control.
But it's also to set, I think, the rules of engagement to let people know that not all your ideas are going to float or will we use them, but some will sink.
But if people are good with that, then, you know, we kill our darlings.
We don't get so invested in, this is my idea, why aren't we doing it?
But to have that flexibility and adaptability, I think, and I think also what you're those.

[25:47] Through those questions you asked, Neil, it sounds like people are not, they can be focused on the outcome of how they'd like to see things.
But what I also hear is that it's like, okay, well, how can we implement this?
It's moved people to action when people feel they can, they can do something about the situation.
It gives them a sense of control. It gives them a sense of certainty and allows them to move more confidently.
Again, this is anecdotal from my own experience, but it sounds like yours began.
It allows them to move confidently into that.


The Importance of Stories in Change Processes


[26:18] Whatever future, some sort of permutation of that discussion about the change. So I really like that.
But that comes back to a point that you made. It's the stories or the narrative we tell ourselves. And I think this goes back to that one of those questions at the trailhead of this conversation. I asked you, you know, why are some people more adaptable than others? And then you referred to the personalities and such. But I think you brought up a very important point.
Sometimes it's the stories we tell ourselves about what we're moving into.
Could you take a moment and sort of elaborate on your thinking around that?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this all comes down to the what's the what's the as is and what's the to be and how are we going to get there together? Um, and uh, I think that's one of the really important things.
If you're running a change process, if you're leading a team, et cetera, uh, when it comes to that sort of point I made about people needing time to process, you really help them process by telling a good story.
We process information much better, much more efficiently if it's in sort of story form. And so, you know, really kind of working on your elevator pitch to bring people along.
Typically goes different ways to do elevator pitches, but it's kind of the stories typically go like this. You know, we, we have been like this, you know, detailing some of the successes or the great values we have, or.

[27:47] This or that. We have been like this, but now, and this is the VUCA coming in, but now we have this challenge, which means we will need to become, that's the fourth part, we'll need to become like this, this 2B that you're trying to paint the picture of, we'll need to become like that, but we're going to get there by doing this, and that's the kind of how part.
So it doesn't have to be exactly that format, but some kind of story like that.
I'm always thinking of like Lord of the Rings or something where they have this idyllic hobbit village, and everything is great, and they're having fun, it's good relationships and humor, etc.
But now there's this challenge, and it's the sort of call to adventure, you know, we need, to do something differently.
Going to be difficult. There's going to be some challenges and some pain involved, but we will have, you know, we'll be even stronger at the end of it. And we're going to do it like this. We're going to do it together. We're going to do it, you know, according to these values, et cetera. So really building on that sort of story structure when you're giving the information.
Then there's the internal dialogue that people are using, maybe not about the whole story, It could be the whole story, it could be parts of it. It's very easy for people to fall into a negative story that is.

[29:09] You know, it's based on maybe how they feel, but it's not constructive. It's not going to help them. It's going to maybe make them feel more powerless.

[29:19] So I think it's important for people to challenge themselves. Am I telling myself a story about this change that is actually making it worse for myself and it's not constructive?


Challenging the narratives around change


[29:30] So, you know, accept your thoughts, but consider, should I challenge these thoughts?
So, those typical stories might be something like, okay, here we go again, this organization or this leader or whoever, they just want to change for the sake of change and we've tried this before and blah, blah, blah.
So, there's a lot of those stories that you can tell yourself and they may be somewhat accurate but even an accurate story, if told the wrong way, can cause the wrong kind of feelings and emotions and prime all the wrong actions.

[30:04] So, it's really important, I think, to try to ask yourself what stories you're saying about the change and consider, could I frame this a different way?
Could I tell a different story? Starting back with what I said earlier about the fundamental truth that the world does change, we do need to adapt.
Even leaders who want to keep things the way they are, the board or the CEO or someone above them or IT might say we need to change to a new IT system or you know there will be changes that are going to happen anyway. So it's important to try to understand that that actually is important and inevitable and so that you tell yourself good stories about it when it comes and that's going to make a lot easier for you and maybe even challenge yourself take it a step further when it comes to the control part, what am I willing to do?
What am I willing to take responsibility for that will at least help myself, maybe help my team, maybe help the organization when it comes to adapting to this change?

[31:14] So it's very easy to, I think, for people's own personal resilience, that part of your own habits when adapting to change is to consider what can you do.
Take these frustrations, thoughts, et cetera, you have and try to translate them into some action.
So for example, I wish they gave us more information about this, or maybe it comes to your mind as, why don't they give us better information?
Well, translate that into, well, who could I ask for to get some more information about this change?
Or I wish they understood the downside of this change that they're proposing.
Well, who could you reach out to to make sure that they're aware of this downside or risk that needs to be mitigated.

[32:06] And if you feel like you're not getting the, you don't have the support or the skills or whatever to, let's say the IT system, it's always a new IT systems coming for all of us and changes, who could you reach out to, to get the support?
Could someone just give you a brief session of coaching? Could you request training for it, etc.? So try to turn some of those things into action.
So at least you've done your part to get the frustration and turn it into some action.


Turning frustration into action


[32:34] That's what kind of frustration is for, is to create action.
Yeah, frustration is actually a good emotion, just as long as you don't go down the rabbit hole and create more frustration for yourself, right? Yeah, exactly.

[32:45] But that you actually, you know, there's always a concept. I was talking to a neuroscientist from Trinity College in Ireland, and he talks about self-confidence and you know, anger is a secondary emotion.
And irritation is one of those primary emotions that trigger anger.
And he goes, you know what, Jason, there's two ways of looking at anger.
Anger is a good thing.
It burns the vessel clean. But he says there's anger in and there's anger out.
Anger in is when it's toxic.
We just kind of sit with it and let it grind and chew us inside.
It makes us feel powerless and we feel, it just fuels self-doubt and self-criticism.
Route is just what you're saying. And that's why at least I hear what you're saying, Neil, it's like, be proactive, take, take the opportunity to ask yourself, what can I do? What part of this can I take responsibility and ownership, and for that power as a bee to speak about how this is affecting us, inform people, I think you use the term situational awareness, allow them to know what's going on at.

[33:47] The front lines, so they can make better decisions behind the lines that will affect those front lines.
Is that what I understand you're communicating?
Really well summarized, yeah. And I don't mean to say that you have to be perfect all the time.
But do try to catch yourself.
I mean, myself, you're Canadians, right? So we like to complain about things.
My Norwegian wife at least tells me that this is a Canadian sport.
And I think the Brits are pretty good at it as well. Yeah, they call it whinging.
Whinging, yeah, yeah, whinging. And it feels great sometimes to just whinge some of that off your system and that's part of the normal processing.
But just make sure that you don't get stuck in that. If you sort of whinge and then you feel better and, and, uh, and no action has come from it, you might, you might think, uh, should, am I talking to the right person here?
And so am I talking to someone else who doesn't have that much control over this change?
Or should we maybe take an action, reach out to someone, at least do our part to try to take some control or influence over the situation?
It's easy to be lazy and not do that, but it's sort of a win for you and a win for whoever's driving the change, if they can.

[34:58] Music.


The Power of Patterns and Adapting to Change


[35:04] During the first part of the episode, Neil shared profound perspectives on the human, super ability to adapt to change in various environments.
Even in the face of futility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, or more commonly known as VUCA, he begins by explaining how our brains naturally seek patterns in the world around us, and over time we develop patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving to create a sense of certainty in our lives.
However, change disrupts these familiar patterns, often causing unease.
Neil emphasizes the importance of proactively seeking and understanding patterns, both globally in our industries and personally in our lives.
He highlights the need for situational awareness and the role of stress tolerance in how we react to change.
He introduces three key principles for managing change effectively.

[35:56] The first one is about self-awareness. awareness is that recognizing that people react differently to change and understanding our individual starting points for change is essential. Point two, was the sense of control. Greater control and influence over the change process leads to better outcomes. Point three is that people take time to acclimatize to change and we do this at all at different speeds. So it's essential for us to acclimatize process and understand what that change means for each and every one of us.
Neil also discussed his role in helping people to adapt to change by painting a compelling future.
He explains the importance of asking questions like, what is working?
What can we improve? To inspire people to embrace change. He also underscores the power of storytelling and communicating change effectively, guiding us through a four-step story format for facilitating adaptation.
Furthermore, Neil explored our internal dialogue, emphasizing the importance of questioning the facts and assumptions in our personal narratives about change.
He encourages self-awareness to empower ourselves to deal with change and suggests framing our stories to focus on what we can do to navigate and thrive in challenging situations.
In this first part, Neil lays the groundwork for understanding the psychology of change and the strategies we can employ to harness our adaptability and face a change with confidence.
So now let's slip back into the stream with my.

[37:23] Music.


Helping People Understand Their Inner Dialogue


[37:35] When it comes to the stories, when it comes to this internal dialogue as you described, it, I mean, when you're working with someone and they are kind of caught up into some sort of negative loop, are there specific questions you help them to become self-aware of their own loop?
Because from my experience, a lot of the times we get so focused on the external, what's going on outside of us, that we don't, we're not, we're not cognizant of the internal drivers in us, that are making us maybe only see a slice of what's going on outside. And that slice, as you've said, maybe pessimism or negativity. Back to my question, that was a long winded way of asking is, but what do you specifically ask to help people understand the narrative that they're telling themselves their inner dialogue?

[38:22] Yeah, that's a great question. And I'm so thankful to having a lot of training and cognitive, cognitive psychology, where you You know, you learn this sort of thing called a thought record.
If you Google up thought record, you'll probably find some versions of this.
I found that super powerful to get people to understand the difference between, you know, there's a situation with its own sort of facts, and then there's your feelings about it and your thoughts about it.
And then that sort of your feelings will prime certain actions, what you do about it.
Getting people to understand that those are sort of different columns on a sheet, and that they all influence each other.
So typically in cognitive psychology, there's the, we try to get people to understand there is a difference between the facts of the situation and your interpretation of it, your sort of thoughts about it.
And that's quite hard because we like to think that, you know, it happens so quickly.
We perceive something and then we have a lot of different filters.

[39:22] And we turn facts very quickly into our interpretation of it or our own stories that we're telling ourself about it.
Of getting people to serve.
Try to detail it, what are the facts of the situation? That's one first question.
So what are the facts of the situation?
And what are your thoughts?
How are you interpreting that? So writing down, actually writing down their thoughts of interpretation.
And also asking how are you feeling about it? Because usually there's a direct connection with the thought is priming that feeling.


Questioning Interpretations and Finding Alternative Perspectives


[39:58] There's some, lots of philosophers and quotes out there It says, you know, that nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Not 100% true, but there's some truth in that definitely our interpretations are, you know, potentially exaggerated, making a bad situation much worse, or even a neutral situation bad. It's very common.
So you get those interpretations, and then the key question after you write down those sentences that you find that you're saying to yourself, just asking yourself, is there a different way to see this? You know, you take one at a time. Is there a different interpretation?
Could I interpret those facts differently? Maybe giving someone the benefit of a doubt and not just jumping to conclusions. There are very typical errors that we make and you can get good at sort of looking for those in your own language. So myself, I know if If ever I say, everyone or all or always or none, it's just sort of all or none black and white thinking.
I'm like, I'm probably exaggerating things here. So I try to calm myself down and think, okay, well, some people are like doing this sometimes or this person or my son is not always doing this.
He's sometimes he's doing this. And when he does that, then that has this consequence.
So try to sort of take some of the exaggeration and jumping to conclusions and those kinds of things.

[41:26] And you don't have to believe the new way, the alternative ways of appraising a situation.
You don't have to fully believe it, but you just loosen up your own thinking patterns a bit.

[41:38] And sort of doing that exercise, you'll typically find your feelings will change, after about five minutes of that exercise.
You'll start to say, oh, okay, I was feeling irritable at about 80% or angry at 75, but now I'm maybe down to 60. Okay, well, that's something.

[41:57] So training your brain to sort of to think, interpret situations a little bit more in a way that's helpful to you, not harmful.
I think for me it has a lot of sort of connective tissue when you know when we're when someone's like someone comes to you, Neil, and they've got a problem, it's much easier for you to see possible ways out because they are lost in the subjective storm.
But when they talk to you, you have the objective perspective to see different things and you you can spitball with them, you can converse and create a dialogue with them to help them to shift their perspective.
And I think that's why a lot of organizations find it helpful to sometimes have external coaches or sparring partners in the sense that people sometimes get stuck in the organization because there's a certain culture and everyone part of that culture, this is a very black and white term I'm saying, can have a certain way of thinking.
And sometimes it's also when you're talking to a friend or family, when I find you need to have a hard conversation with someone to kind of paint the facts, there's two moral imperatives that play into it.
There's honesty, and there's benevolence. Benevolence being kind and nice, as you know.

[43:12] You know, a lot of us, we get so caught up in the short term emotional thing is like, if I'm honest with this person, I'm going to hurt them, it's going to damage the relationship.
And they see it as, I need to be kind.
But I think if we move from the short term to the long term, helping people with their narrative as you've just articulated with your questions, is that, you know what, I can be honest and I can be benevolent at the same time.
Because yes, I will create some sort of social pain by helping them to be honest about how they're perceiving it. And that in your case, you're saying your assumptions, Jason, here might not be exactly correct, aligned with the facts. And that's going to hit me a little.

[43:53] But the benevolence of what you're doing sort of long-term allows me to think, okay, I need to adjust in order to adapt to this change. Because you know what?
It's inevitable. It's coming down the line.
And whether I like it or not, I'm going to have to adapt at some point.
I might as well, as you said, get in front of it, use my superpower to see patterns in the future that I can influence, that I can have some way of mapping.

[44:21] And that's why I think having a professional such as you, where people can talk through this when they're adapting through change, allows them to maybe move from the subjective storm to the objective perspective and allow them to see it with a, I don't know, a big picture type of perspective and not to get so granular.
No, you're touching on something that is so core for individuals, leaders, coaches, being a good friend, how you treat yourself, etc.
That exercise that I led you through to sort of recognize and accept your own thoughts and feelings. The thought record.
The thought record. Yeah.


Balancing Support and Challenge for Optimal Performance


[45:07] The key part of that is not just making yourself feel better and listening to yourself, but.

[45:13] Challenging yourself, you know, challenging yourself, okay, this interpretation I have is that, you know, could I think of it differently. And one of the challenges that, that we put this way to get the very best performance from yourself and performance includes your own engagement and the good feelings that come with that. It's not just all about perform and put your emotions aside. The best performance is you have positive emotions and you're you're performing really well. So both of those are important. We perform at our best when you have this balance of a challenge and support. So whether you're a leader, a parent, a good friend, you know, and when you're, let's say, talking about a change to a colleague and your frustrations, et cetera, the tendency is that you're going to get the support.

[46:06] People like okay yeah oh yeah oh that sounds terrible and i can't believe they're doing that and yeah that's oh yeah you're right they probably are a jerk and uh you know that you know if they only listen to you everything would be great and you know it's very easy to get that kind of support and and and that is important to be to be listened to and someone to kind of hear your perspective.
But you get the best performance and it's not necessarily a sales pitch for people who sort of coach and advise as we do.
But that is part of why we bring such value is we know that we create the value by giving the support and challenging at the same time.
So, if you are only having people around you that are giving you the support side and no one's really challenging, like, well, okay, you know, are you interpreting that the right way?
Is there anything that you can do about this, et cetera, that sort of challenges you to sort of take some control or influence and also your own way of thinking about things being challenged, then you're really, then you've got a real true friend or a good colleague that's going to help you get the best from yourself.

[47:17] So, definitely seek those out or seek out coaches or mentors, etc., someone who can give you that challenge and not just the support.
I completely agree. I mean, if you have a colleague, you might not be best of friends, but you have, you trust them and you respect them.
And sometimes they may have a contrarian viewpoint as to what you're saying, but they are the best people to challenge you because they will think, they'll think of benevolence, be kind, but at the same time they understand the.

[47:47] The value of being honest, not brutally honest, but being direct and diplomatic.
And I think that's why sometimes coaches or sparring partners that sit outside of organizations can add so much value, because they're not a colleague, so they're not part of the culture.
They're not a friend of family constantly thinking about just your welfare, just not telling you the honest just to keep you in a good place.
What it also does, it also mixes up, you know, for me, all relationships, once they're established, a certain dance, a certain pattern, right? And you fall into those steps, that groove all the time. But by introducing a new element, such as a sparring partner, well, what happens?
You mix up, there's no pattern and everything becomes fresh and that automatically forces the dialogue, the discussion to move from subjective to objective. Because all of a sudden you're dealing with a new personality and hopefully he or she is someone who has credibility and you've done your vetting to hire this person to talk about your problem.
Let's assume they've done that. But that new dynamic and that new pattern will also, in my experience, trigger novel thinking and it will build self-awareness, self-compassion, self-efficacy, self-confidence in order for someone to face change. I was wondering if you yourself, it sounds like you have, but I need to ask the obvious question, have you You yourself experience this yourself.

[49:10] Yeah absolutely and I have a soft spot for sort of kind sort of supportive sort of people that's for sure but I really I really value those sort of prickly people I find that it's really seeking them out sometimes just like okay give me the straight shot and then sometimes they may be giving you way more challenges and ideas that you think are okay that's not quite applicable but I really appreciate finding those kind of people who will challenge me and I recommend marrying someone who will sort of call you on your bull crap as well.
That's also very helpful. Then you have a sort of an ad hoc coach that keeps you on track.


Starting with self-coaching and the importance of thought records


[49:54] But I think a starting point is you should always start with yourself and if you can take responsibility to be your own coach as a starting point, I think that's really helpful.
That's why that kind of thought record is so important.
One thing, by the way, I didn't mention is that, you know, a simple model of psychology that I sort of already touched on is sort of the feelings that you have and that influences the thoughts that you have and that influences your behavior and all three influence each other.
Think-feel-do, a very simple model of psychology, and you can kind of intervene in any place.
And one of the ways to kind of keep your thinking on track, I would say, is to have some kind of minimum activity.
You know, if you're a person who exercises a lot, you know, you kind of know what's a sort of minimum amount of exercise to keep you on track and you will notice the difference, the quality in your thinking and your feelings is much better.
If it's a sort of situation where you're feeling kind of overwhelmed and you notice it's a lot of negative feelings, just get out for at least a 10-minute walk or do 20 air squats or something that activates your body a bit more and helps it sort of process some of those stressful feelings, get some of those.

[51:09] Frustrations out a bit physically and it will change it's the fastest way to change your thinking to be honest in fact if i was a therapist supposed to go back and do that job again i wouldn't really accept trying to do any cognitive changes work with someone.
Until i've got them sort of behavior activated as they call it because it's a really working uphill if you don't get your body on track so get good sleep and try to get some.
Activity to help get you in the best possible brain state. So that's the starting point for me, get the fundamentals of the feeling which influences the thinking. And then it's challenging my own thinking. So I do literally do those thought records. I don't do them often because I have a lot of it's kind of automatic. I catch myself and change it in real time, challenge myself. But if I'm really stuck then I'll write down, okay what is it that I'm thinking about the situation and what are some different ways to to think about it. So I really do find that useful. It's quick and easy, just need to scrap the paper and you're good to go.
And then I'm a big fan of the getting things done methodology.
Are you familiar with that one, Jason?
Getting things done? Yeah.
I have to as a small business operator, I have to get things done. I can't leave you sitting there on the desk.

[52:32] What David Allen was so great to do is just find that what's the fastest way to to move things from a sort of a feeling or thought or some bothering that's on your mind, translating that quickly into action. So that's always part of my personal resilience plan, I have the what do I do to affect the feelings I'm having, then the thoughts, and then translating things into action. So David Allen would say, Okay, what's what's on your mind, you write those down, for each one of them think, how would you like things to be? What's the what's the kind of ideal outcome that you would like to have from this?
You know, okay, I would like a solution for my mother's retirement when she's older or something. Okay.
And then you have an idea of what you want from the idea that's on your mind, and then what's the next action? That's the beautiful question.
What's the next action?
And then all you need is one, the one next physical action that you need to do, and then it helps close that loop and get it off your mind, At least until that next action is done, then you maybe need to think of a next action, then a next action.

[53:37] But at least helps your brain sort of let go of it and know that you've closed that loop, you've translated this idea into something that you're going to do, and you've sort of taken control.
So you get that boost of, you know, okay, I'm in control, I'm influencing things here.
So these things really work in a sequence. If you cover all three, if you do even one of those three things, think, feel, or do, you're good.
If you do all three, then you're really going to perform at your best.

[54:05] Let me just rewind here. So you have this personal resilience recipe, you have feel, think, and do. So feel, obviously, are the emotions.
These motions trigger neurotransmitters, hormones, what have you.
But feeling is to process that information, as you were saying, process what you're feeling. Take a look at it.
And what I also hear what you're saying is part of that may be to physically get out there to exercise, to break up the emotions and to shift it.
So you get a, maybe a much more comfortable emotion, maybe moving from self-doubt to self-confidence, for example. Then I hear you saying part of your recipe is the think.
The think is the narrative. It's what we tell ourselves.
It's the inner dialogue or it's the assumption or the belief we ascribe to whatever's happening to us, an event, a person, a situation.
And to maybe do what you call it, a thought record, and to kind of go through it.
What are the facts? What are the assumptions? And where is there a gap?
Very simply said, to look at that.
And then there's the do, and that may be, okay, what do I need to do to actually shift to action?
Because once we move things to actions, once we execute on a thought.

[55:21] There's some sort of physical manifestation of something or other, that gives us the confidence that I'm dealing with the situation.
Is this what I understand is your feel thing do?
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's well said. And then the do is really important to you.
It's very easy to sit around and read self-help books and get a lot of ideas and things like that.
But it's only when you start doing some things differently that you really have impact.

[55:47] So that's a really important one. And then getting things done, methodology is a good way to get you going. And it may be important to say that you can't do everything, you can have a lot of ideas of a lot of things to do.
Just pick one, pick one you think is the most important and it doesn't work out.

[56:07] Okay, come up with another idea and try that one.
And I really like the idea of the thought journal where it's sort of it's almost formulaic and you can go through it and really breaks down the DNA of your thinking. You know something that I, that I sometimes get clients to do is I give homework between sessions usually and I have sessions every second week or something. So I'd ask them to do expressive handwriting. So, you know every situation is kind of circled. It starts and it tries to resolve itself. So what what I ask them to do is like, okay, sit down.
I always ask them when we start these sessions, buy a little book, paper book, it doesn't have to be expensive, a notebook.
And I just want you to write down, start somewhere and just start writing and just set your smartphone for 20 minutes, just keep writing.
And I've always found from my experience, it's anecdotal, but from my experience is that, you know, handwriting, you know, in our using cursive or what have you, is that it allows this amalgamation of our conscious and unconscious minds.
And usually you could start off, well, I'm wearing a blue shirt or it's terrible weather outside.
But slowly, if you keep writing, it's almost a conduit in which you gain insights that you would have never just thinking cognitively, right?
As you're saying. Now, I've always found it as a really good go-to tool, very simplistic, it doesn't cost much.
It's just, just a little investment time.

[57:35] That's great. I mean, I love anything that you can express yourself. People can get sort of thoughts, feelings, get it out. It seems to do something magical. And then I guess you've worked with trauma. I've done a bit the same.
The same. Sometimes this sort of rewriting and rewriting things, you get to the stories that people are telling about it, and they sometimes quite automatically without even � it helps if they ask them to challenge themselves about the way that they're thinking about it, but even just the writing and rewriting of a situation, these tend to find and typically get healthier ways of perceiving things as they as they sort of process it, the writing seems to speed up that.

[58:21] Processing. Do you have experience with that as well?
Yeah, I mean, you know, there's something I used to work with called memory reconsolidation. So to keep it simple, you know.

[58:31] I know, you know, this, but to just to talk to people who are not being sort of educated in this area, you know, when let's say it's, I asked someone to recall your 10th birthday, right? And that person is 40 or 50 years old. He or, she will recall it. But when they recall it, they will recall it as a 40, 50 year old. And so when they think about it, what will happen is that the.

[58:55] Person they are today will influence that memory. So that memory will never go back as the original memory. It will be reconsolidated. It will be reengineered. And so they would bring up the story and they would describe the story to me. And maybe the first time it was very emotional, brings up tears or anger or whatever it does. But then we would bring it back again and again. Of course, we would do this piecemeal, make sure they were processing and it wasn't overload and send them into the abyss. But over time, exactly what you said, Neil, they're able to, every time they described it, they would move from the subjective to more and more and more objective. All of a sudden they become the writer and what had happened to them is just a character, not just a character, but it was a character in a story, in an event.
But at the same time when they were doing this, they got a subjective look at what they were doing. But what it allowed them to do is that the memory, each time they brought it up, every time they recalled it, they would re-engineer it. But they would re-engineer it or re-consolidate it in a way where they had control, they had certainty, they took action, right?

[1:00:04] And again, it's a process and depending upon the level of trauma, you know, it can either move fast or it can sometimes take, you know, it takes its time until you come to peace with it. And it's hopefully in most cases people do make sense of it and to some level come to peace with it and are able to move forward. If that kind of, that was a long-winded answer, but hopefully that that answered your question.


Recalling and Reengineering Memories for Emotional Processing


[1:00:31] No, I love it. And I think we're getting into sort of a core thing that seems to be how people work.
And it's scalable. I mean, the bigger the trauma, maybe the longer story, and the more times you need to write it out, et cetera.
Everything from that to sort of thought record, which is trying to get to a very simple thing, or just a little journal entry.
Get your feelings and ideas out on a page, Maybe instead of if you don't have someone to talk to and being able to sort of see what your thoughts are as a starting point.
You know for small scale frustrations to major trauma I think it's a technique that can be used to help that processing.
I think trauma is not always capital T. I mean change can hit us and it could be a small T. It can traumatize us such as the pandemic. We can all relate to that.
Just it just knocked everything sideways. And it's like, okay, how do we adapt? How do I move forward? And.

[1:01:31] Actually, the reason I started this podcast, it was just because of this, this pandemic. So highly educated men and women with a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge, you know, dealing with anxiety and isolation and overwhelm. And again, a lot of it was the narrative they were telling themselves. But each and every case, you know, when I was working with these professionals, and as I'm sure you've had the same experience, when they got to talk about it, when they got to process the emotion, they would move from that self-flagellation or self-criticism and self-doubt and self-worry or whatever anxious state, to a more of a productive state. I'm not always going to say they were of a positive mindset, because maybe what they're going through is really bad. And any way you cut it, it's not a, it's not color, vibrant colors, but what they do, what I found is that they have this constructive mindset, they have this this confidence that you know what, this too shall pass, I will get through this, right. And actually, that's why I wanted to bring on people of your caliber to speak to this, because, you know, even though the pandemic is far behind us, and all the craziness of it, there's still lessons to learn. And, you know, on this sort of this platform, You Yeah fantastic yeah I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to talk about this and.

[1:02:53] This too shall pass I mean and that's and that's partly because that we're built for this we're built to adapt to things and look at the things through history that people have been able to, to sort of manage their way through and come out the other side and I think like for you I mean you're a really good example in some of these situations that at first we think oh this is really, this is all downside, this is all negative, you know, could be a question worth asking each other or ourselves, you know, are there any possible upsides in this situation, you know, are there any opportunities?
Or even just find that, you know, that post in the storm or what do you call it, you know, when you tie yourself to the mast in a storm. Oh yeah, yeah, on a ship, yeah, yeah, yeah.
So what are the things that we can hold on to that are gonna be the same that's the sort of core here? Is it our values?
Is it our close relationships in this family? Or is it, you know, maybe it's just our ability to adapt to change that, you know, we've got that, we're gonna apply that in this situation, just like we did to other things that have come our way.

[1:04:03] I remember that just kinda, this is more of a personal story, but when I started my company MindTalk, whatever 20 plus years ago, you know, I was new to the country. I was trying to adapt to the Norwegian culture, learn the language and I wanted to build a business, but you know, there was a lot of no. So I actually set up a rule for myself. I said, look Jay when you go out there and you're knocking on doors, you need to get 20 no's before you get a yes. So I was trying to inoculate myself as best as I could to rejection because you hear a lot that knows when nobody knows who you are.
It's not so bad today, but back in the day, that's what I had to do.
I had to inoculate myself too. That's how I made myself resilient, right?
Because it's never nice to hear, no, thank you.
Norwegians are always very super polite around, but you know, it's still a no when you cut it down to the bone, right?
But that's what, back to what you're saying, that's how I had to inoculate myself, you know, to find that equanimity.
Yeah, I think it can you're into something there with which is if you can kind of gamify something, you know to sort of take those, take those difficulties and negatives as.

[1:05:17] Failures or knows whatever as part of the game. Yes, you're gonna get those and then okay, Maybe it takes me a hundred of those to get one. Yes. Great. Let's sort of mark them down. Okay, that's 60 knows That's somebody knows, you know, let's get, we're getting closer.
We're getting closer to that one. Yes.
Uh, I think that works in a lot of ways. And people really like if you can have, this also goes for your own personal change, you know, if you're doing your.
Your, uh, your think, feel, do resilience plan, you know, tick off each day when you've done it and you may not get it every day and that's fine.
Uh, if you didn't get it every day, set a goal to get one more day the next time, the next week, et cetera.
Or when you're doing change management and organization, any way that you can show some progress towards the goal that is super motivating for people to be able to see that we are progressing towards something.
And if it's engaging in the counting the no's to get the yes or whatever, or not being too hard on yourself when there's failures and always setting the bar higher, any way you can sort of gamify things.


Gamifying Change and Building Resilience Skills


[1:06:27] That's a really way to capture your motivation to be even more resilient.
You mentioned before there's an overlap between change and resilience.
I was wondering, can you elaborate on this overlap and how the understanding of both can benefit both individuals and organizations.

[1:06:46] I mean, I guess I have this belief that if people knew a couple of fundamental things, it's actually those three things I mentioned, if they knew a couple of sort of theoretical things about change and how it works, and then they had, you know, a few basic tools on how to sort of navigate change and sort of get the best out of actually how human beings work, then we'll actually have much more resilience and changeability.
So really building change as a skill, I think in a sort of competence area individually and as teams and organizations, that's really inspiring because if you have good methods of doing change, you get more kind of faith and trust in yourself to be able to handle more or in your team or your organization.
And everyone kind of knows the tools and the process. So you tend to trust yourself more and trust the organization more and your colleagues more to be able to do change well together.

[1:07:50] That becomes a point of pride after a while that not only this too shall pass, but we know we're going to, we can get through this and we'll actually maybe even drive some of our own change because we're good at it.
Part of the assumption that most of us as a collective is that I just want to wait things to get back to normal.
But I think if we can change that particular, that fundamental belief to something that we, you said before, to see the opportunities and possibilities, that we don't go back to normal.
We'll just set at a, I don't know, a new default level of normal.
Hmm.

[1:08:27] But I think fundamentally, because a lot of us do and we're not even aware of it, we say, why can't things just go back to normal? Why can't things go back to the way they are?
And this in itself can create anxiety and depression and what are the other sort of mental strains. But I think going back to what you said, the inner dialogue or if an organization is trying to encourage and motivate change within an organization is to create that story format that you that you eloquently described. And I think it's to come back to that inner dialogue and thinking, okay, what are the possibilities and opportunities? And that change is just part of the the everyday now, I think it just is with the speed of everything.

[1:09:14] It's good timing for this conversation as well, or any other conversations you're having with, with the folks on your podcast that you know, there's some people who are quite nervous now that's okay is this pandemic thing coming back again there start to be talk, about masks and shutdowns and things like that I know in parts of North, America these days so it's really good for people to to think about how is it that they have adapted before and how could they be you know hone their skills to around stories they tell themselves how they take care of themselves sort of physically and how they kind of take control where they can that's the thing feel do. And also, yeah, look for those opportunities. And unfortunately, it's one of the upsides of having things disrupted, like with the pandemic is that, so you don't know what you have until you lose it. That's a truth about human beings that we are very good at taking things for granted. Because we are sort of change adaptation machines, we fall into habits, and then it's sort of run into the program just runs in the background.
So we don't even recognize how good some of the things are that we've established.


Appreciating what we had and seizing opportunities for improvement


[1:10:25] So trying to take the time in those circumstances to think about what are the things that you really did appreciate that maybe you don't have now and plant with those.
OK, how can I get those back? Or when I get those back, will I do something to show even more appreciation for the colleagues I get to see at work or this or that?
Sort of have that to look forward to when things get back and then look for those opportunities to, you know.

[1:10:54] Take that disruption as an opportunity to re-examine things.
So can I do things differently? Can I do it even better?
A way that fits more with my, even better with my goals or my values or the way I like to do things.
Well, Neil, we're coming close to the end of our conversation in the time we have.
I was wondering, is there any last tips or suggestions or advice you would like to leave with my listener today.
I think it's more maybe more to reiterate the that you know that you should consider adapting to change as a human superpower and it's and as a skill set a competence that you can get better your own sort of personal resilience and also an organization's just maybe just recap those couple of theoretical things on the tools when you change please please please do okay yeah I do think you know it is As an organization you have competitive advantage if you, as individuals and as teams, in the process that you use in your organization, kind of understand that control is king, we're different and need time to process.

[1:12:08] There's sort of tools underneath each of those. When it comes to control is king, if you can involve people early, widely ideally, being able to ask them about their expectations, you know, let's say first their understanding of what's the as is and the possible to be scenarios we could, options we can consider moving towards, any kind of expectations they have in terms of how things could be or the process to get there, and letting them know that it's expectations and then of course there's a lot of expectations and we'll need to negotiate those expectations, whether it's stakeholders that you need to report to or if it's people involved in the change.

[1:12:56] So that's the control, involve early and ask expectations, negotiate.
When it comes to where we're different, create space for people to have those different reactions that they can sort of discuss together.
And they will also see that they have different reactions to this, the change.
And then use the strengths of the different profiles.
Someone is very sort of conservative and risk-averse, great, get them to help you make the risk map.
What are the possible risks with either the solution risk that you're, with the solution that you're trying to create or even the risks and the process to get there, get them to help you harness that if they're willing to.

[1:13:40] And also those extroverted people who are really loved telling stories and things like that, great.
Can you be one of the sort of champions for this change project and help us get out and tell the story, give some presentations, et cetera, ask other people for input.
And then lastly, the time to process. So it's the storytelling, really try to have a good story around the change.
If you don't create a story for the change, everyone's gonna create their own story.
And some of those will be defaulting to the negative. So be proactive and be out ahead and create that narrative that's really helping bring the best out of people and the organization.
Then have a timeline that gives you time to actually involve people and give them time to process it once they've heard about it so they're not just hearing about it one day and having to work completely differently the next.
That's not ideal. Sometimes it has to be like that. It has to be fair, you know, in the real world.
But the more time that you can give to involve people and have them process it the better.

[1:14:42] Well, Neil, thank you very much for your time and sharing your knowledge and experience with us today.
Thanks so much, Jason. I could talk for several more hours together and I have, so many quick questions for you, but I'll have to invite you to a coffee, I think, and, pick your brain about things from your background as well.
Well, thank you for that. Well, maybe there'll be a part two to this conversation. So we'll just say, as you said at the top, dot, dot, dot, to be continued.

[1:15:07] Music.


Delving into the Power of Storytelling and Resilience


[1:15:18] As we draw this insightful episode to a close, we've delved deep into the fascinating world of change, resilience, and the power of storytelling with our, distinguished guest Neil Hanley. We've explored the importance of self-awareness and understanding the stories we tell ourselves in times of change. Neil's, guidance on navigating these narratives is invaluable. Neil suggests specific questions to help us become aware of the story we are weaving about change. He introduces a powerful tool, the thought record, which prompts us to consider the following. One, what are the facts? This question encourages us to identify the.

[1:15:55] Objective concrete aspects of a situation. Question two, what is your interpretation of the facts? Here we delve into the thoughts and perspectives.

[1:16:03] We attach to those facts. Question three, how are you feeling about it? Recognizing understanding our emotions in response to the situations.
Our stories, as Neil explains, can often blow up and exaggerate the impact of change, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. These questions also serve as a reminder to challenge our own narratives. Are there other alternative viewpoints, different ways to interpret the facts?
Can we find a more constructive and less daunting narrative? In Neil's wise words, a different way of seeing things can lead to a more adaptable and resilient mindset.
By re-evaluating our stories and employing the thought record, we empower ourselves to approach change with clarity, positivity, and an open mind.
Now, I hope this episode has provided you with invaluable insights and practical tools to navigate change more effectively, both in your personal and professional life.
Remember, change is not an external force, it's an inside job.
And with the right mindset and strategies, you can not only weather the storms of change, but thrive in them.
And before I close out this episode, a personal thank you to you, Neil, from me, your fellow Canadian.
I really appreciate your time and your expertise and your generosity in sharing your thoughts and your tools about how we can all be better at facing change.
And if any of you are interested in reaching out to Neil, I will leave his contact information in the show notes.

[1:17:31] Well, folks, here we are at the tail end of another episode.
I appreciate you showing up and allowing me to be part of your week.
And until the next time we continue this conversation on equanimity, resilience, and well-being, Keep well, keep strong, and we'll speak soon.


Introduction to It's an Inside Job podcast
Embracing Change: The Only Constant in Life
Introduction and background of the guest
Pattern recognition and adaptation to change
Embracing Change with Self-Awareness
Three Key Points about Change: Diversity, Control, and Time
Change and Engagement: The Power of Visualization
The Importance of Stories in Change Processes
Challenging the narratives around change
Turning frustration into action
The Power of Patterns and Adapting to Change
Helping People Understand Their Inner Dialogue
Questioning Interpretations and Finding Alternative Perspectives
Balancing Support and Challenge for Optimal Performance
Starting with self-coaching and the importance of thought records
Recalling and Reengineering Memories for Emotional Processing
Gamifying Change and Building Resilience Skills
Appreciating what we had and seizing opportunities for improvement
Delving into the Power of Storytelling and Resilience