Change Management: The Subtle Art of Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s good for you and your team to get out of your routine every once in awhile.

While sticking with your same old habits and practices feels secure, it can also hinder your creativity.

A few small changes can often be refreshing, giving you a renewed vision. It can be fun to experience something in a brand-new way.

These are the first baby-steps to making larger changes in behavior that will drive innovation.

A thinking-out-of-the-box exercise

Remember kindergarten?

Your learning environment was probably full of clay, paint, music, dress-up clothes and constant stimulation.

You were able to use your whole body as a part of the learning experience because movement was important.

As an adult, you’re expected to learn with much less engagement and activity. Is it any wonder that old dogs struggle to learn new tricks?

It’s time to try infusing your professional life with a little creativity. It’s good for your brain and it’s good for your work!

This is an exercise that’s meant to get you and your team out of your comfort zone.

  • Think about the materials and means by which you work and learn. Are they the same ones you’ve been using for years? Often, not much more than a computer screen is involved.
  • Acquire things that will force you to document your work differently. Maybe an artist’s sketchbook, colored pens, books about other industries or interests, a camera or crossword puzzles. The idea is daunting, but it won’t take long for you to embrace an interesting new process.
  • Consider how you express yourself. Do you always write in paragraphs, speak in statistics, or present in PowerPoint? Try a completely different tactic such as mind-mapping, telling stories or anecdotes, or engaging in a group exercise rather than a lecture. If you use social media a great deal, take a full day (or week) off. What happens? Conversely, if you don’t understand or avoid social media, get an account and spend time learning how it works.
  • Integrate different ways to learn into your everyday life. Take lessons on an instrument, go on a field trip with your team, or try out a new game. It won’t be perfect and it may not even be comfortable at first, but you’ll start to see things differently. You may even surprise yourself with a talent you didn’t know you possessed. Best of all, you’ll be giving your brain a workout.

Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary, but you undermine your ability to be innovative when you lean toward comfort and familiarity.

The improv piece

Merriam-Webster describes the word improvise like this:

“To make, invent, or arrange offhand; to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand.”

A great improviser knows how to respond when thrown into an unfamiliar situation – like an unexpected change – because they’re used to using what they have around them to get the job done.

As you learn to apply these improv principles to your work, being an innovator will start to come to you more naturally and you’ll be able to more creatively solve the problems you encounter.

Do you have another tried-and-true method to move you out of your comfort zone?

“You undermine your ability to be innovative when you lean toward comfort and familiarity.” #improvtips

Go through the exercise and note the impact it has on your thinking.

This article is 100% written by a human named Karen Hough. She is the Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, in the top 4% of women-owned businesses in the US, a 3-time Amazon bestselling author, Yale grad, wife and mom of three.