We are all facing an enormous change both at work and in our private lives at the moment. Each day we are waking up to new changes before we have been able to absorb or accept the change that occurred the previous day.
Each one of us copes with change in our own way, some people love change and become bored if they do not have ever changing situations while others like routine and predictability. There is no wrong or right just different.
It is reassuring to know that we as humans go though a series of emotions when we hear of a change.
- Firstly, we feel Shock
- Secondly, we feel Anger
- Thirdly we feel Resistance
- Fourthly We feel Acceptance
- Lastly and hopefully we feel Happiness
A quick way to remember this is by the girl’s name SARAH.
We need to arrive at Acceptance even if it is not possible to arrive at Happiness
The change curve follows the same curve as the Bereavement curve described by Anne Kubler Ross.
The speed through which we travel through these emotions will depend on a few factors:
- Our Personality,
- The impact of the change on the individual
- How the change is communicated and handled
As individuals it is reassuring to know that when we are faced with change that we are going through a natural reaction and a process. We need to give ourselves time to go through each stage and to try and avoid becoming stuck in the Resistance phase where we may want to bury our head in the sand.
As leaders it is also important to know about this sequence of human behavior as it explains why individuals start behaving out of character, some people becoming more emotional and less logical. It explains why people behave in different ways depending where they are on the change curve.
Here are some tips on how to manage Change.
- Keep communication levels high and keep people updated. If you do not communicate gossip and rumors will start
- The reason Why. Tell people the reason why the change had to happen. People accept more when the reason why is explained as it helps with understanding the bigger picture
- Involve people from the start. The more people are involved in the creation of change the quicker the acceptance.
- Give People control. The more control people have over the change the more logical and less emotional they will be
- Ask Questions. Ask people how they feel about the change and discover their fears
- Listen. Listen carefully to peoples concerns as they could be very valid and help avoid costly mistakes
- Provide training and coaching
- Invite feedback from all involved
- Review. Processes as these may have to change over time. It is important to review what is working well and admit to what needs to be fine tuned
- Reward and praise. It is important to reward and praise people as it can be stressful time
- Celebrate success
- Learn from setbacks
It is important to remember that change can cause us and people around us to act out of character and become more emotional than normal and that this a natural process.
We hope this helps when dealing with your own response to change or dealing with other people’s reactions. If you want to learn more about Managing Change, we run a live online Managing Change Training Course. You can see the details and overview here