The Change Agent Blog:

Are You a Thermostat or a Thermometer?

As I prepare to be with family over Thanksgiving, I begin thinking about what attitude I will be bringing. When it comes to dealing with others, are you a Thermostat or Thermometer? Do you SET the temperature in the room or REFLECT it?

Female hand setting a digital thermostat

Female hand setting a digital thermostat

As a Thermostat, you can set a healing or a destructive temperature. Sadly in our nation over the last few months we have witnessed many destructive Thermostats – people setting the temperature to boiling anger (on both sides). It greatly saddens me yet I recognize that people in pain and distress can often be incredibly mean and ugly. It’s likely that in everyday life they are not that way at all.

Electronic body thermometer. Healthy temperature. Fahrenheit
On the other hand, some people wait to see what kind of behavior is presented and then reflect that temperature back. That is Thermometer behavior.

As we move towards Thanksgiving this week, let’s decide right now what being a Thermostat looks like for you. Today, take 30 seconds before you see your customer, colleague, or family member to take a deep breath and set your mind to being a positive Thermostat. Choose to project the attitude YOU want to receive from that person. A warm smile reaches down through a person’s fear. A healing touch lowers a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. It doesn’t matter who you deal with, the attitude you project will always be reflected back to you.

Author John Maxwell said, “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
Patti Hathaway, M.Ed., CSP
Business Advisor & Author of 5 books
The CHANGE AGENT
Solving Your People Challenges
web: http://www.TheChangeAgent.com
Author of 4 Avanoo eLearning Programs
www.Avanoo.com
phone: 1-800-339-0973
email: patti@thechangeagent.com

Happy Thanksgiving Day - text in vintage letterpress wood type with fall decoration (acorns, cones, leaf and vine berries) against rustic wood

Happy Thanksgiving Day – text in vintage letterpress wood type with fall decoration (acorns, cones, leaf and vine berries) against rustic wood

A New Season

I enjoy Fall because it is the start of another season – it’s cooler and the trees begin changing their colors. School starts and new activities begin again. I love learning and new beginnings.

Yet, many people dislike and even dread change. I can’t blame them because the pace of change is unrelenting – from new technology (and companies responding with major internal changes as a result) to changes in leadership and new ways of doing business. I have a framed quote in my office you may enjoy: When excuses stop…change can happen. So, what excuse are you making today that is causing you to resist change in your life?

Perhaps my change tips this month will help you move forward in your nonstop change (taken from my 93 Tips to Manage Change tips booklet)

• Educate people as to why change is painful and what they can do for themselves personally to deal with change (in my change resiliency program and book you will learn why it’s in your personal best interest to move forward in change – and it’s not what you think).
• Address rumors as they occur (i.e., have a “Rumor of the Week” section in your employee newsletter, on your intranet, or within your department). If you don’t effectively communicate your vision, people will make it up as they go along and rumors abound.

Young family member taking an elderly woman for special care - medical attention concept.Speaking of new, my second eLearning program was just released (my first program is on change resiliency – see my website for more details). My new program is specifically for healthcare to improve their patients’ experience: Enrich Your Job and Boost HCAHPS Scores. You will love this very unique 3-minute lesson/day (over 30 weeks) format. This program has the CME accreditation paperwork completed and is ready to be launched. If you want to improve your HCAHPS scores and job satisfaction, take a couple of minutes to watch this corporate preview of the first 3 lessons: http://www.avanoo.com/first3/529.

Email me if you are interested in my special subscriber kick-off pricing for 100 people (this pricing is usually reserved for 3,000 person subscription). It’s only effective until October 25.

Have a great week!

Patti Hathaway, M.Ed., CSP
Business Advisor & Author of 5 books
The CHANGE AGENT
Solving Your People Challenges
web: http://www.TheChangeAgent.com
Author of 2 Avanoo eLearning Programs
www.Avanoo.com
phone: 1-800-339-0973
email: patti@thechangeagent.com

Raindrops Keeping Falling on my Head!

Dramatic sky over an asphalt road

We are having the rainiest summer on record in Ohio. We literally rejoice when the sun comes out! Is that true in your life at times? It seems that nothing goes right and the storm clouds gather and you don’t seem to get a break. I’ve learned that when it rains a lot, I really appreciate the sun SO much more.

We experienced many “rainy days” with our oldest son Bryan as he endured many challenges during his 7 years of college. Yet, the sun came out in May when he graduated cum laude with his B.S.Ed. degree (Elementary Ed) from Ashland University! Sometimes the victory comes slowly but it is really special when it happens. Bryan plans to substitute teach next year while he takes his certification tests and figures out where he wants to live.

I’ve been working on a complete redesign of my website and hired a new designer who promised he could get it finished in 4 weeks. We are now in week 12 and we are finally launching it. Please take a look around as I’ve added a lot more content and hopefully it is easier to find what you are looking for. I’d love to know what you think…

green copper wind vane with bright sky, square frame

A truly sunny experience has been working with Avanoo to produce my first eLearning program, Living Powerfully During Nonstop Change. I love their unique 3-minute lesson/day (over 30 weeks) format with nature video and powerful music. It was a great learning experience for me to have to narrow down my messages to 3 minutes or less. If you have a couple of minutes, here’s a free preview for you: http://www.avanoo.com/first3/519. Email me if you are interested in my special subscriber kick-off pricing for 100 people (this pricing is usually reserved for 3,000 person subscription). It’s only effective until August 15.

My Customer Loyalty Tips for this Month are for Building your Repeat and Referral Business:

• Ask your customers for the business. Ask “How can we build on our success?” or “What can I do to earn the right to do more business with you?”

• Send a follow-up thank-you note or letter after a big sale or service agreement has been signed. Handwritten notes are perceived as more sincere than typewritten letters or e-mail notes.

• Ask your customers to write you a referral/recommendation letter. Get permission to use the letter with other customers or in advertising/promotional pieces.

 

Have a great week!

Patti Hathaway, M.Ed., CSP
Business Advisor & Author of 5 books
The CHANGE AGENT
Solving Your People Challenges
web: http://www.TheChangeAgent.com
Author of 2 Avanoo eLearning Programs
www.Avanoo.com
phone: 1-800-339-0973
email: patti@thechangeagent.com

I Need Your Help Please! Plus, exciting updates…

I am excited about 2015! There are many new things are happening at The CHANGE AGENT! Before I tell you about my update, I do need your help.

I am developing a Patient Service book and eLearning program for hospitals and healthcare workers. I want to use stories that are based on actual patient experiences. I am looking for terrific examples as well as terrible examples of patient service. Would you be willing to share your story (or a story of a family member) with me for possible inclusion in my book and/or eLearning program? Names will be changed so confidentiality is assured.

What’s in it for you? If I select your story/example, I will send you an autographed copy of my book (as a token of my appreciation). Thank you in advance for your help to improve patient experiences through your story! Please feel free to share the web survey link with others who may have a story to share. Survey Deadline date: February 28, 2015. Here’s the link.

YouTubeFreebies: I have a new YouTube channel with 26 clips from my two-hour Untying the ‘Nots’ of Nonstop Change program. Many people have asked when I’m going to do a video so now you have it. Look under “Video” tab on the Resources page. Also on the resource page are many new free articles for you to download or use in your employee e-zine (as long as you give me credit). Here’s the link to my video clips.

Revised Book: I’m really excited about my revised change book! I updated all the research UntyingKnotsRevisedCover bluestatistics and added two new chapters – one on “Don’t Let This Define You” and the other chapter on “How to Stop Dining with the Whining”. It’s also now available as an e-book. I am now able to offer a customized version of my book for clients who order 100+ copies. Several clients took advantage of this opportunity last fall. Here’s the link to the book on amazon.com.

My Tips for this Month are in regards to mergers:

Merger Tip 1: Don’t change things immediately. Find out the key components that must be merged. Not everything needs to be integrated. Talk with your front line employees in both organizations. Listen and learn. Build on the merged organization’s strengths. Recognize that one solution may not fit both organizations.

Merger Tip 2: Determine what changes need to be made. Communicate and explain the changes to the entire organization. Announce what and when the changes will be implemented. Don’t make the announcement and implementation dates too far apart. Half the pain is in the anticipation of the change.

Have a great week!

A long, snowy, cold winter

Spirit-flowerAfter a long, snowy, cold winter, I am cherishing the warmer spring weather so much more than if we had a mild winter!

We are looking forward to our youngest son Drew’s graduation from The Ohio State University in less than three weeks. He completed his B.S. in Food Science & Technology degree in 3 years and is looking forward to his Product Development internship in Dallas with the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group this summer.

As a lifelong learner, I am currently going through two different certification programs. On the professional side, while I am already working with 1:1 coaching clients, I have decided to pursue the actual coaching certification. It involves several classes and supervisory evaluations of my work. On the personal side, I’m going through the application process and attending classes to become a Chaplain with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s Rapid Response Team. They are called on in natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, etc) as well as in trauma/tragedy situations like 9-11 or bombings. I will be working with victims as well as first responders.

While it may seem like two completely different learning experiences, I have found there to be similarities. Learning how to deal with people in crisis or tragedy is largely focused how they respond to abnormal stress. The stress management techniques also apply to my coaching clients. Bottom-Line: it’s all about listening to and responding to people’s deepest needs and guiding them in their decision making processes. It’s truly exciting!

Speaking of stress, many organizations don’t acknowledge their customers stress when they are going through changes. Here are 3 tips for managing your customers through your company’s changes (taken from my 107 Tips for Creating Customer Loyalty booklet):

  • Obtain customer feedback on the change(s). Consider conducting focus groups or surveys of customers to gain their input on potential changes. Invite your key customers to be part of the change process. Ask your customers, “How can we better serve your needs as our customer?” If you ask for feedback, listen and be willing to consider the customer’s input.
  • Be proactive in your communication but recognize that many customers don’t read your marketing literature. Therefore, increase the various types of external communications you develop. Use newsletters, advertisements, and your web site to inform customers of your change(s).
  • Broaden your customers’ understanding and perspective about your change(s). Customers don’t want to switch to another service/product provider unless they must. Make it easy for your customer to do business with you. Be the best in providing a system of procedures and policies and way of doing business that was designed with the customer in mind AND be the very best at delivering service that your competitors cannot match.

Make it a great week!

Clutter and the New Year

Happy New Year!

At the beginning of each year many begin to think about doing away with the old and bringing in the new. The problem is that if we keep bringing in the new while never getting rid of the old, we become overwhelmed with clutter.

As someone who recently downsized from a 2-story home to a much smaller ranch home, I can testify to how much stuff you can collect after living somewhere for 20 years including two sons* who have lived their entire lives there.

One of my speaking colleagues referenced a great article on how clutter affects us. Researchers at Yale recently identified that two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, light up in response to letting go of items you own and feel a connection towards.clutter brain pain

clutter-brain-pain

This is the same area of the brain that lights up when you feel physical pain from a paper cut or drinking coffee that’s too hot. Your b that causes you physical pain. And the more you’ve committed emotionally or financially to an item, the more you want to keep it around.

We recently finished our basement because our oldest son Bryan is back living with us while he finishes college in Columbus (and we didn’t have a bedroom for him). So now I must decide which of the final decor left over from our last home will have a place in our new home. There are many emotional memories connected with many of these items yet I need to let some go (or continue to store them).

What things are cluttering your life? Not just physical things like old decor or clothing – what habits do you need to let go? What ruts have you fallen into? I consider a rut as a grave with both ends dug out yet they are comfortable and well-worn so we tend to stay in them.

For the next two weeks, I’m doing a “fast” from TV and Facebook because I find they clutter my mind more than anything else in my life and have become a rut for me. There is nothing inherently bad about either but my hope is that I’ll renew my mind with life-giving new paths that I can follow.

Drew Art Project

Drew-Art-Project

*While decluttering, I came up with a really creative way to use my boys’ old art projects from elementary school. I created one of these windows for each of their newly finished bedrooms. I’d be happy to share how I did this if you email me for the information.

Make it a great week!

What Are You Thankful For?

Thank you for being part of my life! I am so grateful for the privilege to serve such a wide range of organizations to impact change in people personally and in their workplaces. With Thanksgiving (in the USA) next week, I like to focus on what I am personally thankful for. As a family, I enjoy the tradition we have during our Thanksgiving meal for each person to share 3 things that they are thankful for in the past year.

teach-me-to-be-thankful

If you Google gratitude you will find thousands of articles and studies touting the benefits that people experience if they incorporate thankfulness in their life. Here are some of the top research-based reasons for practicing gratitude:

  • Gratitude brings happineteach-me-to-be-thankfulss. Practicing gratitude is one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction;
  • Being thankful reduces anxiety depression (reports indicated 1 of 10 adults report depression);
  • It’s great for your body as it: strengthens your immune system, reduces symptoms of sickness, lowers blood pressure, and makes you less bothered by aches and pains;
  • Being thankful makes you more resilient and strengthens your relationships;
  • Grateful people are more empathetic and helpful.
  • I was really captivated by this study on the science of happiness which is powered by gratitude. I think it may be worth your time to watch it. Personally, my action plan is to write a letter of gratitude to a person who has profoundly impacted me and mail it with a Thanksgiving card next week. I have said these things to her directly so I think writing it out in a card which she can re-read will be a blessing to her.

Action Plan: What will you do in the next week to increase your gratitude?

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have a grateful week!

How Things Change Without Us Noticing

1998-1st-day-Kindergarten

It’s the first day of school here. I remember with such fondness the excitement of those first days when our boys were in school. We made them stand on our front porch so we could take the annual picture and compare it to how much they grew from the last year. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of our youngest son Drew as he anticipated his start in Kindergarten. How those years flew by without us noticing . . .now our boys are both college seniors.

It seems like nothing changes when you are in the midst of living. Only when you step back, do you see how much has really changed. The same is true where we work. We often forget to consider the impact of our organization’s changes on our customers. So here are some tips to help you manage your customers through your organization’s changes:

  • Obtain customer feedback on the change(s). Consider conducting focus groups or surveys of customers to gain their input on potential changes. Invite your key customers to be part of the change process. Ask your customers, “How can we better serve your needs as our customer?” If you ask for feedback, listen and be willing to consider the customer’s input.
  • Help your customers understand the “why” behind the changes that impact them. Customers want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Share the benefits to the customer as to why you are making the changes. Capture the heart of your customer by being clear as to how your changes benefit them and you can win their loyalty.

Taken from my tips booklet: 93 Tips for Managing Change

Please check out the 42 new articles I added to my website in the pdf format. Feel free to use these articles in your organization (just give me credit please).

Make it a great week!

4 Tips to Avoid Merger Mistakes

Inn-logocid_D8E9BADB-497C-4079-B5C5-A056EE8BAA82

I hope you are enjoying your summer. My husband Jim and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on June 18 in Hocking Hills, Ohio. We had a wonderful time staying at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls and exploring the caves, trails and waterfalls in the southern part of Ohio. It was our first time visiting this area and we thought it was spectacular (better than the Smoky Mountains and far less expensive)!

We then headed farther south to visit our youngest son Drew who is really enjoying his first food science internship at Bellisio Foods in Jackson, Ohio. He has an amazing manager who is not only allowing him to do a significant project but is also sharing her insights on corporate culture, union environments, mistakes to avoid, etc. that will save these interns from professional blunders. We were very impressed and grateful for his learning and growth in his internship! How often do you share your tips and insights with new employees?

Check out my website and you will notice I’ve added 42 free articles in the pdf format. You are welcome to use the articles (just give me credit) in your organization’s newsletter or with your colleagues.

Here are the merger tips as promised from my last issue:

Merger Tip 1: Don’t change things immediately. Find out the key components that must be merged. Not everything needs to be integrated. Talk with your front line employees in both organizations. Listen and learn. Build on the merged organization’s strengths. Recognize that one solution may not fit both organizations.

Merger Tip 2: Determine what changes need to be made. Communicate and explain the changes to the entire organization. Announce what and when the changes will be implemented. Don’t make the announcement and implementation dates too far apart. Half the pain is in the anticipation of the change.

Merger Tip 3: Educate people as to why change is painful and what they can do for themselves personally to deal with change.

Merger Tip 4: Address rumors as they occur (i.e., have a “Rumor of the Week” section in your employee newsletter or on your intranet).

Taken from my tips booklet: 93 Tips for Managing Change

Make it a great week!

3 Costliest Merger Mistakes

Happy June – the sunshine and warmth is welcomed in Ohio! I was ready to send out this blog in April but my webmaster changed my blog to a new platform and I had to relearn the new set up. I’m also learning how to handle an old John Deere riding lawn mower as grass cutting is my responsibility (since I can’t cut down trees and do other hard manual labor). This just goes to show this “change agent” that she needs to continually learn new things.

On my website, we’ve added dozens of free articles in pdf format for you to download and use.

Merger-airlines1

In the world of business, mergers continue to be a reality (think airlines – see graphic for Delta’s “master guide” to their merger) and I’m finding many of my clients are also merging departments. So, I thought the fon my next blog, I’ll continue this theme with the 4 Tips to Avoid Merger Mistakes.

The 3 Costliest Merger Mistakes

Mistake 1: Tell employees “change is good.” Employees don’t buy it and you will lose credibility. Most change is painful.

Mistake 2: Promise your employees that this will be a “merger of equals.” There are never two winners in a merger. Mergers tend not to be fair, so be realistic with your employees. Honesty is always the best policy.

Mistake 3: Ask for employee feedback on change implementation strategies and then don’t use the feedback. It’s the quickest way to alienate your employees. If you don’t want or need employee input into the change process then don’t ask for it. Don’t pretend that you are open to suggestions when you are not. Lies at the beginning will cause people to not trust you later.

Next time, I’ll cover the 4 Tips to Avoid (the above) Merger Mistakes. Taken from my tips booklet: 93 Tips for Managing Change

Make it a great week!


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