Several years ago, when I led a Senior Team through a 'Focus Session' to get the Management Group to assess progress in Culture Change, I understood the term - 'Familiarity breeds contempt'. We were talking about Corporate Culture and how the business leaders had identified critical areas for improvement. In particular, this group focused on changing from a fear-driven, punitive, negative sales culture to one of customer focus, empowerment and achievement.
Managerial behaviours which supported the old culture were identified and discouraged. Many positive new behaviours were being demonstrated. Several middle managers were making headway, leading briefing sessions with some initiating 360-degree appraisals. This was a radical change compared to six months previous, when almost all appraisals had not been valued and were imposed from above. Many staff were experimenting with peer review, several had moved into upward appraisal, and several challenging souls had adopted a 360-degree view.
We discussed the merits of this approach, the time that some managers needed to adapt to the new way and the knowledge that change for one person can occur in a heartbeat. In contrast, it can be a lengthy, painful, but productive process for others. At this stage, one of the team members interrupted his colleagues and said, "We have heard all this before - can't we move on to something new."
Negative Belief: Been there, Seen it
I stopped to listen and concluded that this statement hid a very harmful belief needing to be confronted and challenged. Although many Senior Officers in companies have been there and seen it - they certainly have not done it!
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