When change comes to town, it seems to divide people into two camps: victims and villains. Those who precipitated the change are often the bad guys of the situation. And everyone else seems to be warily looking for their name on the chopping block. Change has the same effect on businesses, which is why mergers and other structural shake-ups can be so damaging to morale and productivity.
But they don’t have to be. While reading Sharon Melnick’s new book, Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On, I came across her seemingly stellar exercise for people who are going through this kind of flux. It’s called “WIN at Change.” While it is intended for the individual, I think that brokers, managers and leaders of all kinds could benefit from it.
The exercise is predicated on Melnick’s theory that if you take responsibility for your 50 percent of any given situation, your stress level will decrease, as you’re holding up your end of the bargain with the understanding that you can’t do it all. I think that’s a key component to this exercise, and I think managers would do well to mention that ideal as an introduction to the exercise. As Melnick says, “It’s tempting to comment negatively on other peoples’ decision or to be fearful of the uncertainty, but the way to stay productive is by managing yourself” (emphasis hers). If nothing else, it should quiet detractors long enough to get through the exercise!
So, here’s what you do. Gather all the stakeholders and hand them two pieces of paper. The first one should be split into thirds, and the second one blank. Here’s your script: Continue reading »
We’re bombarded with tales of the new normal. These narratives focus on the scary notion that unemployment and economic growth levels might stagnate right where they are today and stay there forever. But we’re also hearing about the people who make up the new normal. In just the last couple months of REALTOR® Magazine’s Daily News items alone, headlines question the opportunity the future holds, thanks to shifting demographics and changes in people’s economic values:
- First-Timers Make Up Smaller Share of Buyers
- Millennials Will Become Home Owners Later
- Financial Crisis Sparks Housing Commitment Phobia?
- Did the Housing Crash Affect Home Ownership Views?
Just last week we learned that the word “underwater,” as pertaining to home value vs. loan amount ratio, was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Was there ever so concrete evidence that the Great Recession has entered our cultural lexicon?
Perhaps American consumers are entering a new phase. But is that necessarily a negative thing? And are you ready for it? Continue reading »
Double-dip recession! Recovery! Fiscal cliff! That old joke about how economists were invented to make weather forecasters look good gains traction as market reports become more contradictory. Add to that the constant assertion that “real estate is changing,” backed up only with vague sketches that don’t tell you how and when, and you might be looking for a comprehensive guide to the future of your career. That or a retirement plan.
Thankfully, a collaboration between renowned real estate consultant Christopher Lee and NAR’s Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) has arrived to fill in the gaps. The book, Transformational Leadership in the New Age of Real Estate (IREM 2012) is part career road map, part motivational tome, and part crystal ball. Continue reading »
Change is difficult. It doesn’t matter whether it involves rolling out a new corporate initiative in a large company or trying to eat healthier for a New Year’s resolution. It’s not that the change itself is complicated. Oftentimes, it’s very simple. What’s hard is breaking out of habitual behavior.
There’s a scientific reason for that, as it turns out. As well-known business authors and academics Chip and Dan Heath point out in their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by (Broadway Books, 2010), making conscious judgments about what to do and how to do it requires using a mental resource — the part of your brain that makes executive decisions — that is very easily depleted.
Let’s say you’ve been smoking for 20 years and want to quit. The main problem is not the fact that you enjoy smoking or the addictive properties of nicotine, according to the Heath brothers, although those could play a role. The issue is that every “touch point” you have with cigarettes is ingrained in your consciousness so that you can do it automatically and practically without effort. You pick up a pack when you go to the drugstore or supermarket. You carry it around in your pocket. You take periodic breaks from working to smoke. You light one up after meals. And all of this is done without your brain actively telling you to do it.
Conversely, giving all of that up requires the kind of mental fortitude and focus you might associate with solving quadratic equations. You may stay strong in your resistance to smoking for a few days, but there’s a very good chance you’ll backslide at some point. And it’s not because you’re weak or a bad person, a common sentiment among people who beat themselves up for falling short of goals. It’s because human beings are wired to be creatures of habit. Being completely cognizant of what you’re doing, or thinking deeply and creatively about something new, is the equivalent of running an automobile engine at high RPMs. It’s fine for quick acceleration, but you’re going to burn out your brain if you keep it in that state over an extended period of time. Continue reading »