Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Non-Traditional things to do after a 360 to promote change

By Caroline Fox

You’ve just completed a 360 Feedback and you have a coach who is ready to help you change your weaknesses into strengths. You’re ready to change, and ready to move up in your organization. Your coach has great ideas that get you excited, but you want to do a little something extra to get in the mindset of change. We’ve come up with a few “unconventional” ways to prepare for acting on your 360 survey results and to get ready to be a new, improved manager. Will these magically help you turn into someone new? No. Will they make you feel refreshed, renewed, and ready to go? They might. Remember folks, mental and physical states go hand in hand, and it is hard to have one without the other. Give one (or all) of these multi-sensory changes a try to get the most out of your coaching experience:

Hair Cut—there is a reason that your mom took you to get a haircut every year before school started. Haircuts create an immediate physical change and reveal the “you” that has been hiding behind overgrown bangs, hair long enough to be classified as an afro, dead ends, and neck hair with enough length on it to be called a rat-tail. A haircut can be just a freshening trim, or it can be more drastic; when I finally grew into myself in college and met the lifelong friends I consider part of my family, I chopped off my long locks (and donated them!). I felt like a new person—my short, sassy hair gave me a new feeling of confidence (it helped having everyone tell me how great I looked) which in turn led me to try new things, meet new people, and go after a job I never thought I’d get. Guess what? I got the job.

Move Furniture around—Moving furniture around makes me feel amazing. Simply moving furniture can create a feeling of renewal, cleanliness, and organization that a room with “strategically organized piles” of stuff can never fulfill. Plus, nothing gets adrenaline pumping like moving a heavy desk, bed, couch, or cabinet. Not only will you have a new and fresh look in your house, but you will also have to clean those “hidden areas” behind your couch and under your desk. Think of cleaning these hidden places as you would cleaning out your mind; you’re pulling out the trash and cobwebs of things that you think you know, and rearranging them into something better. That’s what you’re doing with leadership coaching—rearranging your behaviors to make something better, cleaner, and more efficient.

Pick up a new hobby—Trying new things has been proven to help prevent early brain deterioration and keep the mind sharp, but it can also create a feeling of newness in your life. Keeping in the same routine day after day can have an adverse effect on attempts to change your behaviors; change in your daily habits will make it easier to adjust to your coaching strategy. So take up basketball, knitting, biking, making balloon animals, fire juggling—anything that appeals to you!

Try a new food—Trying a new food might seem harmless, but to some people new food is a terrifying thought. Really! I once had a friend who wouldn’t let her food touch and would never try anything new. Needless to say, her menu was quite limited.

Trying new food gives you a new sensory experience. Take in the smell, the flavor, the colors, and the aftertaste. Involve all of your senses. By trying new things, you are opening yourself up and becoming vulnerable, which is important when trying to create personal change. Exposing all of your senses to a new and different kind of food will get you accustomed to change, which is essential to trying new thing like new ways of relating to/talking to people, or new ways of looking at situations.

Get a new phone – This might sound kind of silly (and no, I am not being paid off by a wireless carrier). Stick with me here. A phone is most people’s primary mode (or at least one of their primary modes) of communication. If you are focusing on changing a behavior that has to do with your communication skills, a visual reminder can be very helpful. Your phone, most likely attached to your hip 24/7, acts as a visual cue. Take your old phone and throw it out; that is your old style of communicating. Get your new phone and vow to use it as a tool to communicate properly—the way your coach has advised. This visual representation of an internal process can help you move more quickly towards your goal—plus, you get a new phone!

Do you have any other suggestions as to how to turbo-charge your change? How did you react and change your behaviors after a 360 Feedback? Leave us a comment!

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