Martin Summerhayes (martinsummerhay) wrote,
Martin Summerhayes

Management of Change - Roller Coaster of Change Curve

You can't stop the future; You can't rewind the past; The only way to learn the secret to press play.” Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

For any Management of Change to work, you have to understand the first, subtle element of what is known as the "Change Curve". Change takes time, even rapid, personal change, takes time to develop the desire or need for the change, before the change event takes place. This lead up to the the change event or scenario occurring and being reflected on a number of hierarchical levels. From a business perspective, these can be summarised as:

Level 1 - Awareness: Coming to realise that the change is needed and necessary and has to happen when the change announcement is made

Level 2 - Understanding: Understanding on a personal level what the change is, its implications and key drivers. If this is adopted, you get positive understanding rather than being ignored.

Level 3 - Compliance: You are looking for positive and confirmed compliance, though you might get cautious adoption.

Level 4 - Intellectual Commitment: At this level, you are looking for people to institutionalise the changes taking place and can talk and reason as to the changes that need to take place.

Level 5 - Emotional Commitment: This is the highest level of commitment, when the change is internalised and becomes part of the DNA of the person, team, organisation. This is the ultimate desired state.

When the change is announced, there are normally high expectations of the change and what it will bring, offset by all the challenges to success.

Trough of Despair: This rapidly leads you into a trough of despair. You can feel emotions such as: Shock, Mourning, Fight, Flight, Disorientation, Nostalgia, Turmoil, Rage, Guilt, Depression, Feelings of Loss, Detachment or a Feeling of Loss.

These feelings are perfectly normal and should be expected and carefully managed. You are now at the bottom of the "Change Curve". If you have planned for the change correctly, have articulated the need for the change in a personal, positive, engaging and attention grabbing manner, then you will see the person, make the Decision to embrace the change.

Climbing the Change Curve: You will then start to see / experience such things such as: Search for the New; Focused Exploration; Informed Choice; Focused Study; Problem Solving; Refining Purpose; Finding new Structures; Testing; Hope; Reattachment; and possibly even Excitement.

On a personal level, there is a well known model, called the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief Model. The model was first introduced by the Swiss Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, and was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients. These five stages, are transferable to varying degrees and in slightly different ways, to personal change and emotional upset not connected to death.

The Five Stages are:-

Denial: The first reaction is Denial, where the person imagines a false, preferable reality.

Anger: The person recognizes that denial cannot continue, becomes frustrated, especially with people close to hand. Phases used could include - "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"; "Why would xxxx let this happen?".

Bargaining: The third stage involves the hope that the person can avoid a cause of grief. In relationships, this can be reflected as "Can we still be friends?"; "If I change my lifestyle, will I still live".

Depression: During this stage, the person experiences depression and a sense of hopelessness. "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time sullen and upset.

Acceptance: Finally, the person embraces the inevitable future. "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

Remember, one person's despair (a job-change, or exposure to risk or phobia, etc) is to another person not threatening at all. Some people love snakes and climbing mountains, whereas to others these are intensely scary things. Emotional response, and trauma, must be seen in relative not absolute terms. The model helps remind us that the other person's perspective is different to our own, whether we are the one in shock, or the one helping another to deal with their upset.

Finally, this is a vary sad day today. One of our family friends announced that their 18 year old daughter died suddenly and completely unexpectedly. Our love to Megan who has passed on and thoughts are with Ian, Allison and Jack.

Tags: analysis, depression, grief, inner thoughts, life, management of change, mindfulness

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