Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Stress during OnBoarding - The story of Peter

How do I get more time to relax, see things from perspective without being dragged into a game I don’t understand and that wears me out?  A senior executive who I will call Peter with a very good track record came to see me the other day. “It feels as if I am forced into a mould but the old recipe doesn’t seem to work anymore”. “The pressure builds up, private life suffers, and my energy runs out”. Does this sound familiar?  Or is he the only one? Don’t think so. What to do about it?

What got you there won’t keep you there
Over the years we have learned that there can be quite a number of reasons why stress during onboarding may cause ineffectiveness. Stress in itself is not a bad thing: the adrenaline that goes with it helps you to achieve very challenging goals. But at a certain moment you have passed the tipping point and will discover that adrenaline is not the same as energy and your batteries run flat.
Business performance and quality of private life drops dramatically and we see most managers persisting in old habits that turn out not to be effective during transitions.  “What got you there won’t keep you there they are” is an old saying and still very true.

Stress during onboarding
Is there a solution? Over the years we have learned that some managers manage stress far better than others. Why is that?  Stress during OnBoarding can have its roots in many different areas.  In this blog we limited ourselves to two: onboarding skills (1) and drivers/limiting beliefs (2).  Skills are the easy part. There is a lot you can learn about how to onboard successfully. When you recognize situations and become aware of what is going on you have half of the solution in your hands. Will this reduce stress? Off course it does. It amazes us how little is being done in the area of onboarding training.  HR professionals: put a couple of day’s onboarding training in the management training programme. Your company and the new leaders will immediately benefit from it.

Drivers and limiting beliefs - the story of Peter
Both experienced and very junior managers find transitions an intense challenge. Most will not admit it though. The anxiety triggers strong behaviours that have proven to be effective in the past. Drivers like: hurry up, be strong, be perfect are but a few. Over the years some have proven to be very effective for you, but some of them are not effective at all during an onboarding process.   “I always want to get things going very quickly. When things are on the move I begin to change things”.  Working with Peter he discovered that he was always asked to manage turnaround situations.  But his new job was not of that nature. Next to this, in his personal value system he couldn’t imagine doing anything else than ‘hurry up’.  Clearly what had been driving him for years needed an add on. Scary? Of course, because trying something new in a high pressure situation leads to all kinds of limiting beliefs that held Peter back: “can’t do it,  don’t want to operate as some sort of consultant, we need decisions, let’s move on, we have spent enough time on this”. Peter became aware that he was moving into a dead end street and was going nowhere. Stress levels went through the roof. 

Life smiles again at you 

Together we have worked out what the personal root cause of these beliefs was and what can be added to change them. Systems analysis together with practicing different behaviour have done the rest. Peter started to apply different behaviour and gradually noticed that powers began to shift into a direction where he wanted it to go. He regained impact on the situation, and as a result stress levels dropped dramatically. Peter learned how to pull off different behaviours the moment he is facing something big and new. Life smiles again at Peter.     

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