Introducing Change in a Team

One of human being’s most powerful asset is the ability to change.

Being able to change allows us to constantly refine our techniques so we get better at what we are doing over time. It helps us choose between various methods of problem solving so we can become more efficient and productive. It gives us the key to overcoming an environment that is constantly changing so we can still benefit when the circumstance varies.

In fact, many leaders realise that the person, team or organisation that has the most flexibility will end up benefitting the most in any changing environment (and change is present in most environments). One of the common topics we help clients with in the past decade is “Change Management”.

People dislike changes. Most people that is. Statistics puts that number at almost 70%. Most of us prefer to do things in the same way that we have been used to doing it, probably because it gives us a sense of security as we are familiar with it. It fits into our routine comfortably, we know we are already good at doing it that way and it is easy as we do not have to consciously think about it when we are doing it.

People dislike change for various reasons – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, adapting to changes slows things down, having to go through the cumbersome process of relearning again…. etc.

Here are some important steps when introducing changes in an organisation:

1. Change begins with a decision.
Change, in many  instances can be critical to an organisation’s survival, and in some cases can make a huge difference in the company’s performance. This information has to be communicated to every member of the organisation. It is when everyone understands that there is no other choice but to change. This will help them make the decision to change.

2. There has to be a systematic way to showing them how to do it.
People learn things at different paces. If you have introduced a game to a group of people, you will realise that a few of them will understand the game half-way though your instructions, some of them will get it by the time you finish and most of them will understand after you repeat some of your instructions during questions and answers sections and some will still not get it when you first start playing the game.

One of the most important things to do when introducing change is to identify the people that will change quickly, the ones that will change with most people and the remainder that will put up the most resistance.

After that, we will need a strategy to show each of the groups how to change, giving them support and also a timeline and incentive to change.

3. Reinforcement
Many are successful in implementing changes to their teams for a short while and after that they realise that people go back to t their old ways of doing things. What is missing is the monitoring and constant reinforcement so that positive behaviour is reinforce to a point it becomes a habit.

When that happens, it will take significant effort to do things differently from the new habit that is being formed.

4. Get professional help.
If help is needed, get it. When you have done everything you can and nothing seems to be working or the results are not consistent, it may be a sign that professional help is required.

Some of us may have that experience at a personal level. Sometimes, some people just need that extra push to get to where they want to go. An executive coach will sometimes do the trick for you and takes the load off your shoulders.

The very act of getting an external consultant to give that additional support to the particular employee – shows the importance of the exercise and gives the additional motivation for a person to change.

In summary, change doesn’t always have to be difficult. As long as it is properly managed and introduced in stages with the right strategy, it can be implemented smoothly.

Taiwan Team Building

We have just completed a 2 day DISC training and team building for the management and some staff of a global Investment bank’s branch office in Taiwan. This is our 3rd training this year for this Investment group (we had previously completed 2 trainings for them in Singapore), and our first training in Taiwan.

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It seems kind of weird that we have been so close to Taiwan after we set up our office in Hong Kong in 2009, and have flown numerous times to different parts of China from Hong Kong (and even to Mumbai and Hyderabad in India), and have only just completed our first training engagement in Taiwan. We are, nonetheless, very glad that finally this item on our “to-do” list for our company can finally be checked.

Taiwanese people have always given me the impression of being shrewd business people and yet relational, warm and welcoming.  I remember that from my childhood days when my father was involved in a trading business with Taiwanese business partners.

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After the 2-day training, I came to realise also that they are also a group of extremely committed, creative and determined individuals with a strong sense of common goal in a team setting. Not to mention that they are probably one of the most fun loving groups that I remember from our past 11-year history.

The venue that the client has selected is very near the iconic Taipei 101 building. The participants were very interactive during the DISC training and raised many interesting questions during the training.

During the team building portion, both the management and staff were both extremely enthusiastic and worked very well in their teams. There was great communication within and between teams and participants were committed to complete the challenges that were posted to them.

When feedback were given, the teams were respectful and eager to learn, with many of them taking down notes on their own.

One of the highlights for our trip was of course the night market and street snacks (as with the other training and team building venues that we travel to).

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Deep fried cuttle fish from Taiwan that will make any other calamari feel inadequate
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Wild boar sausages that comes in 12 different types of flavours
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Creative Japanese style omelette with 12 different toppings
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Japanese pan cakes with different fillings at unbeatable prices (btw, this was not the cheapest one we found) and they tasted GREAT, with so much filling that it overflows

 

Do note that these are just a few of the tonnes of photos of street snacks that we have taken. We also had delicious BBQ whole cuttlefish, the most amazing deep fried boneless chicken drumsticks, great Japanese udon and Taiwanese beef noodles and many more.

On a side note, the night markets in Taiwan are an extremely good location to a team building food race for some clients. All we have to do is to give them some pocket money and a list of items to buy and consume, and of course station some of our staff near the food stalls and get them to complete team building tasks while/before/after consuming their food.

It will time-saving for companies with tight schedules – they do not have to set aside additional time for team building from their meeting schedules; It is great bonding – almost every culture in the world bonds over eating or drinking; they get to experience this great Taiwanese culture and they get to learn about working together!

Next on our “to-do list” will be a Taiwanese Night Market Team Building Race. If you are interesting in doing a “Taiwanese night market amazing race” type of team building programme for your staff, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Overall, our experience in Taiwan has been a fruitful one and we can’t wait to come back again for more training engagements.

P/S: The HR Manager has told us that she has received numerous positive feedback from the participants and the other managers in the company are already asking about similar training for their departments. So it looks like we will be coming back here soon, fingers crossed!