Making a Change

Fast moving change has become the norm in all walks of life with technology leading the rapid changes in how we communicate, network and even influencing political revolts. And change can be stressful.

Within organisations people’s performance improves if they develop proactive techniques to handle change, learn to set realistic and flexible goals and have the ability to recover from set-backs.

Knowing how change affects you, and having strategies to move you though the process to a positive frame of mind, allows you to remain mentally tough.

Change can be an intentional change, a surprise that gets thrust upon you, or simply a growing awareness that one is moving into a life stage of increasing or decreasing stability. Assessing this will let you know if it will trigger a cycle of reactions and feelings that are predictable and this has benefits.

  • Knowing what the stages of reaction are helps to put the feelings associated with them into a context and also allow you to make adjustments to move to a point of acceptance sooner. When organisations are making major changes and want to know how to manage the effect I illustrate the likely impact with the change curve of Kubler-Ross which gives a good understanding of how we tend to move from shock to denial, through anger and resistance to acceptance.
  • The time it takes to move through these stages varies. According to Alexander & Scott (1994) People adapt to change at three speeds.  The fastest is Physical – which is the time it takes to comply with the behaviour requirements of a change. Then Intellectual – the time it takes to comprehend why a change has taken place. And the slowest is Emotional – which is the time it takes to feel comfortable with the new state.
  • It may well take a while for people to get emotionally comfortable with a change, and this is an important factor in motivation and staff retention. It is very easy as a leader to think that a change has happened successfully as the physical signs of compliance are there and forget to check regularly after changes that the intellectual and emotional acceptance is occurring.  If it isn’t then using techniques such as reframing and perspective positioning people can be helped to move to acceptance faster and feel comfortable again with the new reality of a situation. For tips and ideas on dealing with pressure click here.