“Stop trying to change hearts and minds. Change the behavior!”
This is the advice guest speaker and author, Minal Bopaiah, shared during our CliffsNotes Book club session last month. Minal was addressing change in DEI and speaking about what works in her experience.
For me, being trained as an Organization Development consultant for 25+ years, this was a complete “mind blown” moment. We are trained to focus on mindset shifts to obtain sustainable change. The thinking is, when you view the world differently, you’re willing to access new/different behaviors.
Minal’s point was that most DEI efforts are intended to change behavior, norms, and ways of interacting. However, it may take ages to win some people over with their “hearts and minds” on certain DEI topics, and some may never agree! But, if they can agree to change behavior to align to the new values and expectations, then that’s progress. I’m not ready to ditch the whole mindset shift thing completely, but I understood her point. It got me wondering if sometimes I overemphasize the importance of a mindset shift to the neglect of behavior change.
The Challenge: Getting Better at Time Management
Take time management as an example. Whether you are an executive who needs to learn to get out of the weeds, a new parent who is suddenly juggling a career and a young family, or someone who is simply poor at time management, getting better at time management is a change that many of us would love to make a reality.
This topic touches us all, and it’s one that requires a “tune up” from time to time over the course of your career. In meeting with clients recently, I am finding that many organizations are taking a fresh look at their processes and group norms for in-office days, work travel, and collaboration overall as their organizations are returning to the office after extended telework due to COVID.
The Key To Improving Time Management: Look at Your Systems
As I reflected further, I realized that some of the best strategies that I use to manage my own time have required changes to my everyday processes and behaviors. Almost two decades ago, I took a course called “Getting Things Done” with the David Allen Company (No, I don’t get a commission). I learned some basic email tricks in that program that I still use to this day! Here are a few:
If you’re looking for sustainable change or buy-in over time, I still believe that mindset plays a large part and, focusing on small actionable behaviors are valuable. It could be exactly what you need to get the momentum going.
Still Unsure Where To Start? Here is Some Inspiration
I recently read a McKinsey article with the best title ever, “If we are all so busy, why isn’t anything getting done?” It’s a great quick read that offers some recent examples of how organizations have rethought processes and implemented “radical” ideas like no-meetings days. One of my clients actually implemented this idea and they went one step further, they removed meetings for one FULL WEEK! True story! Is it time to re-imagine how you work?
What small behavior shifts have you made that have made a big impact?