If a butterfly flaps its wings…
On a recent workshop focused on personally coping with and adapting to change and uncertainty, the point was raised that we often don’t recognise small change in our lives as significant.
When we get made redundant or join a new company or buy a new house, these ‘big ticket’ items stand out in our memories as significant.
We might give ourselves time to consider the effects of that change and wonder how to accept the new normal. But what about those smaller changes in life that can have equally big impact?
Getting a new boss or colleague or losing a close colleague as they choose to leave the business or are made redundant? Realising an aspect of our work has changed or that our expectations of something have changed. These things can cause emotional turmoil and upset our routines, but do we recognise them?
You may have come across the concept of ‘The Change Curve’ before?
It provides an overview of the emotions that people go through when faced with change. It considers the impact of change over time in terms of self-esteem and morale and identifies four broad, common responses to change:
Denial, Frustration, Experimentation and Integration
This is a fluid curve and people will go through each area at different rates.
Dealing with resistance to change is often a case of understanding where someone is in the process of responding to change – and then helping them move towards a more positive response.
Recognising where people are, is an important first step to having the impact you desire – what might it be like to be in each of these four areas? What would you hear people saying? What would indicate someone was in this area of response to change? Thinking this through will help you recognise the signs through behaviour – then how can we help people move forward towards Commitment?
|Denial—clues||How to move on|
Fighting the outcome, saying why this should not happen
Claiming the change will not go ahead
|Confront with evidence of the reality: what will change and what will stay the same
Create awareness of what will happen when
Describe the problem / reason for the change & discuss the implications for the future
Take time to listen and understand concerns
|Resistance— clues||How to move on|
|Pulling back from work, doing the minimum
Stating how they will not engage with the change
Showing frustration or going quiet
|Take time to listen and understand concerns
Look for quick wins—help them see how the change could benefit them in the short-term
Remove barriers to change
Challenge assumptions: what do we know vs what is opinion or a guess
Listen to understand
|Exploration—clues||How to move on|
|Suggesting ideas on how the future might work / feel
Trying out working with aspects of the “new normal”
Asking questions about how things will work and how to make the best of the situation
|Explore solutions: how could you help this work better?
Focus people on priorities
Set short-term goals and give feedback on progress
Get people involved
|Commitment—clues||How to help people stay here|
|Talks less about the way things used to be and more about making the new normal work
Shares ideas on getting the best out of the new way of working
Talks openly about both successes and challenges, focused on finding ways to make things better
|Focus people on results
Look towards the future
Set clear goals, adding in some longer-term aspirations and giving regular feedback on progress
Acknowledge and recognise / reward progress and achievements
The focus with these tips is to help people accept change and recognise their new normal, so that they can adapt and make the most of it. So what is going on in your life that may not be a big ticket change item, but still requires you to go through this journey?
How might it help you to consider where you are experiencing frustration or even denial and work towards acceptance and adapting to this new life?