Thursday, May 29, 2014

Make an appointment to erase a memory

Imagine if you could wipe the memory of a bad relationship? Or a really bad meeting with your boss? Or a destructive argument with one of your kids?

And wouldn't it be fabulous if you could get rid of any memory of anything that frightens you: spiders, flying or change at work?

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, that's just what Joel tried.

In real life, it still can't be done .... yet.

I talked about developments in the ability to forget in a previous post. So what about the ability to erase?

This search is moving rapidly with the increasing number of PTSD cases giving rise to both economic as well as compassionate imperatives.

There is an easy-to-read article on one of the latest neuroscientifc studies on erasing memories in Scientific American, Memories can be edited.

Mice are the subject of the experiments. It seems that distant memories are the toughest to erase. They are more resistant to change.

Bottom line in this study: 30 day old memories in mice could be deleted.

What is also interesting is the comment following the article where another scientist, Dr Kevin Corcoran describes his research where he found that remote and recent memories extinguish at the same rate. He offers an explanation about why more remote memories might be harder to erase.

From my perspective, the debate and the race to find the answer is exciting though when a solution is found, I hope that the ethical debate is equally advanced.

And it will be found. Each time I get a customized advertisement on my browser I think of Minority Report the 2002 film with Tom Cruise.  Set in 2054, advertising holograms appeared as you entered department stores tailored to your previous buying habits.

How close are we to that now - maybe not holograms yet, but tailoring, absolutely.

And can you contemplate the day when you have to do a memory scan when you apply for a new job - and undertake an erasure process if you have any memories that might make you resistant to the change and strategies planned by your new employer in the future?

Far-fetched? I don't think so. Who would ever have thought we could print body parts?

It's just a matter of time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Communication during change - what should you focus on?

Communication during change - does anyone get it right? This research shows there is still a long way to go. Read the useful comment at end.

Communicating the 'why' and the 'how' are the most significant drivers.

But you can only do this well if you have  complete clarity on the 'why' and 'how' yourself.

In my experience many change managers aren't clear on this. How can you be a change leader without it?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Downsizing is bad for the health of employees who keep their jobs

Just been reading an article published in BMJ in 2004 on the impact of downsizing on the health of the employees who did not lose their jobs during a major downsizing.

It was a study from Finland across 10 towns following a major downsizing of municipal employees.

The results have significance for change managers today, particularly as the authors suggest that the findings may have been an underestimate of the impact on the health of the remaining employees.

This study is relevant today because while the number of employees were cut, the services provided by the municipality were not - does that have a familiar ring to it?

So job demands on the remaining employees increased, as did job insecurity but the sense of control among the workers decreased. in other words, a high work stress environment.

Their findings from their analysis of the data? There was an increase in sick leave and an increased risk of cardiovascular death among permanent employees who kept their jobs.

From the results they conclude downsizing may pose a severe risk to health.

Given the current increase in downsizing as a structural change to reduce costs in many organizations, this study underscores the need to use best practice change management practices under the guidance of skilled and effective change leaders.

In particular, leaders must understand the impact of change not only on the physical health of their people but as importantly on their emotional and mental health.

This is an equally if not more important cost saving measure in the long term, given the potential ramifications of ill health and death from poorly managed change not only on the survivors of downsizing but on the business itself.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Expecting today to be terrible?

Got a 'bad' day in front of you?  This 6 minute video can shift your mindset. Mindfully watch it, hold on to the thoughts it inspires.

Then maybe you won't have as bad a day as you were expecting after all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do you wish you could just forget some things (or some people!)?

Memories makes us who we are. They bring us joy, bring us pain and mostly keep us safe from harm.

At work, memories of bad change efforts often get in the way of new initiatives and derail change implementation and take up.

You've all heard the phrases: 'Here we go again'; They tried this before'; 'Just wait, it will pass'.

So any research about how to manage the impact of memories is interesting for change managers.

For PTSD sufferers, it's vitally important.

This article, Is it possible to forget? describes some research that shows there is a difference between 'high-control' people and 'low-control' and their ability to block out bad memories.

Doesn't provide us with a magic cure yet but it keeps adding more to the search for a solution to the impact of bad memories.