The attitude bell curve and mental
toughness as business tools
by Bill Cole, MS, MA and Rick Seaman, MBA
You have a brilliant idea for your company that will increase revenue and create more profits. There's only one problem. The employees who have to implement the idea aren't buying into your vision, so it isn't going anywhere. How can you get them to change their opinion and embrace your great idea?
The Attitude Bell Curve
A useful strategy for managing change is to assume employee attitudes adhere to a standard, or bell curve, distribution. A small group of employees are highly constructive, deeply committed to the organization, and inherently supportive of management's change initiatives. Another small group is highly disruptive, deeply alienated from the organization, and inherently resistant to management's change efforts. Most employees are more or less neutral and remain to be convinced about the merits of any proposed change. A good yardstick is to assume 15% of the population is supportive, 15% resistant and 70% neutral.
Selective Focus Begins the Change
The key to change management is to ignore both the supportive 15% (they don't need convincing) and resistant 15% (they can't be convinced) and concentrate on the neutral 70%. If the broad middle of the population moves to the right on the attitude bell curve, change happens. That segment will move to the right if it sees that you are committed to the change and are no longer allowing the resisters to thwart you.
Mental Toughness: the Key to Bell Curve Management
Why isn't this simple strategy used more often? It often comes down to the need for mental toughness from the senior leadership in the organization. Mental toughness is being able to maintain your interior focus, relaxation, determination and confidence in the face of extreme external stressors that should, by all rights, make you fail. It's performing at your peak under pressure.
Our advice for the CEO, President, executive or business owner who wants to successfully manage a company-wide change initiative:
Be a savvy business leader who understands how change "really" operates, at organizational-intrapersonal levels, and manage that change by leveraging your mental toughness as a business asset.
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