What happens when we start sliding into the curve of change? Why do we have different reactions to change? What does it take to get through each step of the curve? How can you as a manager best follow your organisation through the curve of change?
The world is changing. People are in shock. The curve starts. Some slide through the curve of change with ease and some don’t. Before starting change, make sure you’re aware of the rule of the game to be able to adapt your leadership accordingly.
Assisting your Employees through the Curve of change
As soon change starts, all humans go through the curve of change. As a leader of the organisation, your job is to lead your people through the curve and employ adapted leadership tool at each step. The complicating factor is that your team members will all be at different places in the curve – and you have to adapt collectively and individually.
When you have announced the change, people go into denial and shock. Your job is to provide information and give people time to digest. Make sure you communicate the information in larger quantities that you would have naturally done, this reduces the impact of the next step.
The most important phase to manage as a leader is when your people are getting into their angriness and starts actively resisting. You have to be prepared for it. You have to go through objections upfront. Speak about the problems, it reduces their importance. Be present and LISTEN to people – be patient!
If you’re going through hell, keep going – Winston Churchill
Eventually, the exploring phase with some optimism will arrive. This is the right timing to introduce training while still letting your team the time to adapt. Always remember that you are ahead of the game of feelings.
Sometimes it takes a few seconds to get through the curve and sometimes, it requires months or even years. Your people get to the stage of acceptance. Your team starts to produce as one unit. They embrace the change and value them – there’s new commitment in the organisation.
How to Minimize Future Shocks
We all have a comfort zone. The larger the comfort zone, the quicker we adapt to change. This is also valid for organisations. You have to focus on increasing the comfort zone in your organisation. You have to provide a secure framework which gives people the possibility to go outside their comfort zone.
Before you undertake an organisational change, you have to create a structure that gives your people the confidence that something supports the change. You have to create a structure where people feel secured. It will also make your team apply their competencies in constructive manner.
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination – Jimmy Dean
I’ve managed through a lot of changes. Early in my career, I learned that a clear structure is a map people can use to adapt through change. It gives confidence that the unknown is taken care of. It provides security, which again increases the comfort zone.
Strengthen your Organisational Change Muscle through Culture
The culture of an organisation represents the glue that holds the organisation together. In order to successfully move your employees through the curve of change you should make sure your have a clear identity and culture. A sense of belonging and loyalty is an essential part of the glue that makes the organisation successfully transfer through a period of change.
A lot of times when you go through a very traumatic situation and it’s emotionally difficult to deal with you come back spiritually stronger. It changes you in a way – Elvis Stojko
Our change muscle is strengthened each time we go through change. It’s build throughout a lifetime. The muscle is stronger when there is a culture and a secure framework that hold people through changes.
When your employees are more confident with adapting to changes, they will also for sure be happier at work. Initiatives and suggestions starts coming from below. This is certainly the most rewarding phase for a leader!
Good luck with getting through your curve of change!
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