Fear of change is another major factor that many have to contend with in order to set goals, especially as a team.
Fear – noun 1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
For some people the fear of change trumps the potential benefits of the change itself, at least initially. The old status quo may need improvements but at least it is familiar, at least it isn’t change. As a member or leader of a team, it is good to keep in mind that some in your team may be resisting change because they fear it. It can be tempting to pull back when there is resistance. But resistance itself isn’t enough to make you not follow through with the change, the question is why is there resistance?
Courage – noun 1. the ability to do something that frightens one. 2. Strength in the face of pain or grief
It takes courage to push through resistance. Being able to help the team be courageous is one of ways a Scrum Master “encourages” the team. In this instance, ultimately the goal is to uncover both the logical and emotional blocks and to eliminate each one. Brainstorming on the pros and cons, and taking the time to allow everyone to have the opportunity to share any concerns helps to identify most, if not all of the issues to resolve. During this process listen closely to not only what people are saying but how they are saying it as well, to look for emotional concerns as well. Often resistance comes from a bad past experience at another job, or even where everyone is now. Sometimes it is something personal, and sometimes a group setting isn’t the place to address everything. Remember not every reason is logical, be respectful when helping people confront fears. Think the monster under the bed, allowing your child to get up and look under the bed with you and determine for themselves that there is nothing there to be afraid of, eliminates that issue, usually. Did you know you would be part counselor when you wanted to be a Scrum Master? 🙂
Every time I have been a part of a team there is a mix of people; some are eager to try new things and experiment to make things better = build windmills. Others shut down, resist, and drag their heels when it come to change = build walls. The way this usually plays out is that change happens at a much slower pace than some on the team want it while simultaneously happening faster than others on the team want it!
- Do you have any windmills builders on your team?
- Do you have any wall builders?
- How do you navigate the dynamics between the two?
So how are the blocks eliminated? How can we help those afraid of change to feel better about it, to be courageous?
- One of the best ways is to help them to focus all of their energy on building the new, not fighting the old. This can be anything from creating a detailed plan, to daily reminders of progress, or the benefits of the goal. Think loosing weight and how much more productive it is to focus on making good choices than to sit around all day and wish you could eat a chocolate cake!
- Doing it as a group often helps many people by giving them a sense of camaraderie and fellowship which increases their courage knowing they aren’t taking the risk alone.
- If a success after a failure can be identified, reminding everyone that endings can change and just because something didn’t work once, doesn’t mean that no matter what you do, it is doomed to fail for eternity.
How do you encourage your team? How do you handle those who fear change?
One of the challenges with getting out of our comfort zones is the unknowns
- What if it doesn’t work?
- What if I can’t do it?
- What do I do if I can’t sustain the change?
They can pile up and overwhelm some of us pretty quickly!
One of the first things I do with my teams to help them get comfortable (pun intended) with getting out of their comfort zones is to help them see the value of having goals.
In my experience people seem to fall into one of four camps when it comes to setting goals;
- Set big goals that come closer to requiring a miracle to achieve than not, and use the “long-shot” of it as motivation to keep working towards it.
- Set goals that they know are achievable, they may require some considerable effort but they can see the steps from a to z and with persistence, time, and hard work they know they can achieve it.
- Set goals that require barely any change or effort where the emphasis is building confidence because you can feel good about yourself for achieving it.
- Don’t set goals, some rarely make plans and live on a whim and how they feel at the moment.
I have yet to work with a team that doesn’t have a mix of these four types which makes the first challenge in helping the team get out of their comfort zone, agreeing on a kind of goal!
There are pros and cons in each of these goal setting camps.
- A pro of setting big goals is that it stretches you beyond what you knew you could do or go. A con is that for some people if it is too much of a long shot they will never really try for a myriad of reasons.
- A pro of setting goals that are achievable with work, time, and a plan is that it can motivate some people to push harder than they would without the goal. A con is that it doesn’t require much of a stretch and some need more motivation.
- A pro of setting goals that require barely any effort at all or something you are already doing anyway is that they can be great at boosting confidence. A con is that it can become extra work to log and track completing things that you would be doing any way.
- A pro of not setting goals at all is that if concentration, creativity, or something like that is helpful to accomplish the goal than “feeling” creative sure helps to do it. A potential con is that it is increasingly difficult to accomplish much in life with out any goals and only doing things when you “feel” like it. Some still seem perfectly happy about this, others, not so much.
- What camp do you fall in when it comes to goal setting? Do you go big? Go safe?
- Can you name your team members and what camp each of them fit in?
If not – have a discussion about goals and find out where everyone is, it will help later…
Other factors can also play a part in the challenge of setting goals, we’ll discuss those next time.
com·fort zone noun
1. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress. “times when we must act beyond our comfort zones”
When I see the image above, I think of the old adage below,
As a Scrum Master, your job (or part of it) is to help the team get to where the magic happens. And yet as a Scrum Master this insanity is one of the main things that I see again and again. So many teams want the benefit of change but when it comes to acting and thinking differently they often resist! There is plenty of talk about the benefits of increased productivity, satisfaction, and creativity but it seems few mention that 90% + of the time the team will have to get out of their comfort zone in order to truly accomplish these goals.
One of the things I’ve noticed about effectively implementing Agile is it always seems to require that at least one, if not several team members get out of their comfort zone. And while everyone usually wants the benefits of implementing Scrum or some other Agile methodology, it is rare to find a team member that is actually willing to cheerfully get outside of their comfort zone.
It reminds me of how many of us want to lose 5 lbs (or more!) but don’t want to watch what we eat and get more active because it takes us out of our comfort zone. It is easier to give in to the craving and not push ourselves past where we are comfortable and so we remain in the same ole’ place. Sometimes there is fear associated with the resistance as well. Using the weight example, I may know what I like to eat that has caused me to be overweight but what will I eat if I don’t eat what I’m used to? What if I don’t like it? What if it takes too long to prepare or is more expensive? Change can be scary for some people, so in a team setting we also need to manage the different time frames that various team members are able and willing to adopt change.
- Do you agree that the magic happens outside of our comfort zone?
- Do you have any tools to help your team get out of their comfort zone?
- Could you use some coaching on how to coach your team to get out of their comfort zone?
I’m going to do a series on how to help your team get out of their comfort zone with practical exercises, tips, and experiences from what has and has not worked for me. The goal is to do weekly updates.
Stay tuned for more!