If you and your credit union are feeling inertia, there may be a good reason. “Organizations, quite simply have psychological momentum. When you’re moving, you tend to keep moving. When you’re stagnating, you tend to focus on the things that are preventing motion,” says Stephen Balzac, a psychologist and president of 7 Steps Ahead, an organizational development and management consulting firm in Stow, Mass. “After a while, being stagnant becomes a habit – one you need to break deliberately in order to move forward again.”
How to break the habit? Consider these steps for loosening up:
- Change your setting. “If you’re in the habit of coming into the office and focusing on the negative, go off site,” Balzac suggests. “A change of scenery is one of the simplest ways to shake up your routine.”
- Get a new perspective. Denise Gabel, chief innovation officer for Filene Research Institute in Madison, Wis., spends plenty of time listening to colleagues – and a deliberate share of her time listening to people outside her chosen field. “People who know nothing about what you do often ask the very best questions,” Gabel says. “Outside voices and outside stimulation are what make inspiration happen.”
- Reframe what’s going on. Stop the doubts and negative chatter. Act and speak as though positive change is the expected outcome.
- Shift gears. “Sometimes activities that feel like distractions relax your mind and open the door to inspiration,” Balzac says. Exercise, watch a funny movie, go to a concert.
- Fire up your staff. Balzac suggests: “It always feels foolish to think about how great things are going to be tomorrow when things are difficult today, but you need to take a break from thinking about what can go wrong and start asking what can go right. Let’s engage in a little wishful thinking.” Instead of grilling employees and colleagues on the pitfalls of their suggestions, try a little encouragement.
- Give yourself a win. Want to create momentum? Be successful. Start small if you have to. Load the dice if necessary. Pick a project or initiative that’s a shoo-in, then shoo it in. Later, you’ll have the forward energy to absorb mistakes, but for now taste the thrill of victory. You’ll remember why taking action matters in the first place.