‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new’ Socrates
We usually experience 4 different phases when going through change. Knowing what they are and identify where you and/or your business stand can help navigate with more awareness and ease the process.
The first stage is Denial, we know change is coming but we push it away often unconsciously. We worry about losing our basic needs (physiological, safety and belonging) and we tend to feel stuck as we are reluctant to take action.
What can help? In this phase it is important to receive clear information, to encourage discussion and to understand that people will need reassurance.
We then move to the next phase, Resistance. People are rejecting the change, often not because of the change itself but because of the fear of losing what they have and the lack of control. People will be looking for safety by trying to go back into their comfort zone. This is a critical phase as it often comes with a decrease of motivation and productivity and a tendency to focus on what’s wrong. But handled correctly resistance also show engagement. In this phase communication is a key element of success.
What can help? It is important to acknowledge how we feel, to listen to people’s concern and to involve team’s in making the change work.
In the Exploration phase, we know that change can’t be stopped, and we are now searching for new alternatives or even better, new opportunities. We still move back and forth between “exploration” and “resistance” for quite some time. There is a sense of feeling overwhelmed by having too much to do or too many ideas.
What can help? Promoting brainstorming or strategy session, offering positive feedback to support actions taken toward change, up-skill with training if needed so people can move into their new role with confidence.
Acceptance is the last phase. It comes with a sense of commitment as we realise it is better to accept the change rather than ignoring or fighting it. People might not agree with everything but they feel that they can contribute to the success of the new vision and/or strategy. Employee exhibit a team players attitude and put effort into making things work or work better.