Why is care a foundation in a digital transformation?

2017-09-14 17:48:46
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We live in times of profound disruption, times in which almost all companies need to reinvent themselves and be prepared for the digital era. The pace of change is accelerating, and technologies allow us to be connected, or at least available, 24/7. The boundaries of time are disappearing, and it is not clear anymore when a job is truly finished. We can always add something, do more research, get more alignment, fine-tune this or that, go the extra mile …

We get “requests” or are expected to answer communication through meetings, SMS, email, WhatsApp, Messenger, LinkedIn, Skype—the list grows every day—from work, family, friends and strangers, making our “to do” lists longer and longer. If that were all, we might be able to manage, but with the digital transformation, all these requests keep changing. “I know I asked you to do x, but now that’s changed, and we need you to do y.” Or, “We have always done it like this, but now it has to be like that.”

Rewards and punishments

And what have we learned from school? We have learned to do what is expected of us. We have always been rewarded for doing what is expected or punished for not. We get a list (most of the time in our class syllabus) of what we need to do, need to bring and need to study. We get bad grades if we don’t deliver on all these requests. And that habit doesn’t stop when our working lives start.

What’s worse, some requests are contradictory, like your partner wants you to be home more vs. your boss, who expects you to deliver at work no matter what. This is the perfect combination to cut into your rest or recharge time and, in the long term, burn out or get sick.

So, what is usually the most obvious answer to this problem? “We need to hire extra people.” Well, in my experience, hiring is not the right answer. I tried it, and it didn’t change much. You end up with even more things to do, more meetings to coordinate and more people struggling with this issue.

The only right answer is to do less and work less, but that means going against years of engrained learning and beliefs. It means not delivering what is expected of you. And you have almost ALWAYS been punished for that. Doing less also means you will disappoint other people or yourself.

Less is more

And that is one of the biggest issues in digital transformation—you can either try to do everything that is expected of you, or you can do the few things necessary to be successful in this digital era.

I have just described one of our deep beliefs and habits that needs to change during a transformation. But there will be much more. It will feel like you are losing your (professional) identity, the person you thought you were. This is a very painful and difficult process, and you need to feel safe to be able to do it. That is why “care”—both for yourself and for others—is one of the foundations of digital transformation.

As a leader, you need to take care of yourself and your people. It will be your number-one job. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. You cannot pour from an empty cup. It is, of course, not only your responsibility; people will have to learn to take care of themselves as well. But we can help them.

Care is also necessary because we are often too hard on ourselves. When confronted with an opportunity or a threat, the situation could trigger a belief that we are not good enough. If we think to ourselves, “I am able to cope with this opportunity or threat,” then we will learn and grow. If we believe we are not able to cope, we will get defensive and resist the change. Care helps increase our belief that we will be able to cope, which in turn decreases resistance.

Caring can be tough

In the digitalization process, you will inevitably have to let go of people for different reasons (cultural fit, obsolete competencies, too much resistance …). Dismissing people is always a very painful process, but even that can be done with care. The person being dismissed, as well as the rest of the organization, will feel better knowing that even these difficult tasks are handled with a lot of care for everyone involved.

We are not used to taking care of ourselves and even less accustomed to being taken care of. That means the concept may seem implausible, and people will need time to adapt to it. They will make jokes about some initiatives (joking is often a response to feeling awkward). They might not trust them in the beginning and may even reject some plans. That is the wrong reason not to take care. Be patient as a leader—like all habits, it takes an average of 66 days to adopt it. And once we learn the habit of care, miracles happen.

And you, how do you take care of yourself? What gives you energy? 

Do you want to stop being overwhelmed and get your life back?

I used to be stressed and overwhelmed too and almost burned out before realizing I had to change some of my habits. Today, I work much less than I used to while being even more successful and I want that for you as well. I have developed a 5-day challenge with Solvay Brussels School: "From overwhelmed to focused QiLeader" that you can get for free. For five days, you'll receive one video and one challenge. It will uncover a system that will get you out of your busy stressful life and into more impact and peace of mind.

 

How can you get free access?

First, you download a free guide "How can I save time at work". You'll receive this free guide and a personal link. Then, you share your link with colleagues and friends. It will allow them to get the free guide as well. When five friends register to the free guide as well, you get access to the 5-day challenge. And you help me build a community of leaders that I can serve.

In summary:

What's the catch? There is no catch but I explain why everything is for free in this video where I pour my heart . 

 

 

 

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