When we ground our thoughts in what we know to be true, it can unlock creativity and the ability to problem-solve in our brains. Grounding our thinking is also a powerful, psychological way to direct our thoughts away from stress and create a sense of calm and control. This paves the way for more thoughtful actions and better results from change.
Given the stressful situation the pandemic has created for all of us, grounding our thoughts on three declarations about people and change can clarify change challenges and set us up to address them successfully.
Change is challenging because of uncertainty, risk and fear. Going from a comfortable current state to something new and different causes discomfort in social structures, our established habits, working norms, and even our psychological safety. This naturally leads to resistance. People resist change in many ways, both passively and actively. Examples range from quiet indifference and workarounds to recruiting dissenters and sabotaging projects.
We can’t flip a switch and expect people to know what is changing and how to change. We must help them through the transition from their current state to their future state. When you tell someone their job will be impacted by a change, you must also explain how all of the aspects of their job will be impacted. You must explain the current-state process and future-state process, current-state location and future-state location, and so on. This is what people need. And they need to know the why behind the change. Why are we changing? Why this? Why now? What happens if we don’t change?
We can’t talk about individual change without talking about the ADKAR Model, the process we know every one of us goes through during change: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. To effectively build Awareness and Desire, we need specific individuals and roles in our organization to act, so we can achieve critical individual process milestones. Who are the change leaders? Prosci Best Practices in Change Management research tells us that business leaders are the preferred senders of organizational messages and employee supervisors preferred senders of personal impact messages.
Karen Ball is Director of Marketing and Development and a Master Instructor at Prosci. A Certified Change Management Practitioner (CCMP™), her passion is delighting clients with innovative solutions that equip them for change success. Karen is a frequent author of Prosci thought leadership articles and blogs, webinar facilitator, and conference speaker who brings 35 years of experience and stories to in-person and virtual stages.
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