Have you ever felt people in your group were looking backward instead of forward? Or that people are resistant to change, content to stick with things as they are, not interested in taking on new challenges? Do you sense that people are bored, feel uninspired, disengaged?
These are the symptoms of the being stuck in The Doldrums – a major stress fracture in groups. It can happen to the best of us. Perhaps some disappointments have settled into rigidity and resistance to new ideas – “oh it won’t work anyway” kind of thinking. Or maybe you’ve been so successful that folks have gotten comfortable, “resting on your laurels” and acting as though the future will be like the past.
Such complacency can lead not only to frustration and boredom, it can also be dangerous to the survival of the business.
The environment is constantly changing and businesses have to be nimble and creative to stay alive. This recession has been a wake-up call for many. The future will not be the same as the past. Less complacency and a more proactive way of working might have helped a lot of organizations survive this recession better.
If there’s a feeling of being stuck in the doldrums in your group, you can turn that around.
1. Conduct a review or assessment. Find out how people really view what’s going on. Find out what happened to shut people down, what caused them to get discouraged, or give up, or fall into complacency?
2. Hold a visioning session. I guarantee you that there is untapped passion in your group. Find out where it is. Get people together in the spirit of imagining the future and they will spark each other and fan dormant embers of vision and creativity.
3. Pick an exciting challenge to take on. Be audacious. What would you do “if only we could….” Act as if you can. What step would you take right now?
4. Support the creatives in your group. Take new ideas into serious consideration – even if they look unrealistic some part of an idea might be a breakthrough.
5. Give rewards for great ideas. You could set up a competition between teams or bonus time for working on new ideas. Ask your group what would inspire them to develop their ideas
6. Hold regularly scheduled environmental reviews. You could ask everyone to bring in an observation or news fact about the environment you work in – whether it’s your industry, your local community, your particular network, or the global economy – once a month. Hold a brainstorming session about what you think the future is going to look like. The point is to seek information outside of your normal business routines and open a channel for imagining what you can do to create your future.
Don’t let complacency and lack of creativity stress your group. They will sap your group’s energy. The stress from that is unhealthy – for each person – and for your business. Don’t wait until a shock event to jolt you out of the doldrums. It could be your undoing.
Be proactive. Your creativity energy needs nourishment. By establishing habits that energize your group with new ideas and experiences, you can keep people engaged, avoid The Doldrums and create your future rather than react to it.