Friday, 12 June 2015

Change Management

We can’t live without change

To begin with we all get older every day we’re alive!  If that isn’t change, I don’t know what is.

Organisations change – they have to in order to survive.  We’ve had a long recession and government imposed austerity measures and many organisations, whether they wanted to or not, have been forced to institute changes that they perhaps wouldn’t have chosen if the financial climate were different.

Change that evolves naturally can often be so subtle that people barely notice it and those changes easily get incorporated into the day to day. Changes that happen quickly is usually the type that throws people into turmoil and disquiet.

My previous blog on change in April talked about the impact of imposed change. Certainly most people who come on our Change Management Open courses or who bring us in to do tailored work are reacting to imposed changes that they now have to grapple with.

I also mentioned before that I’m a change lover so lots of change, even imposed change, doesn’t throw me the way it does others.  I kind of swing with the punches.

However, I began unpicking what it is that I do in order to swing with the punches that might be helpful to other people who struggle when change is imposed on them.

I’ve undergone a lot of change in my life and I expect my psyche is used to it so when I hear that something’s afoot, I mentally prepare without even realising I’m doing that.

More importantly, though, is I’m aware that I focus on one or two things that I think are really good about the change, even if a lot of it I might not be all that happy with. I’m not a positivity junkie by any means, but I have found that if I choose to like something specific then the things I might not like begin to fade into the background.

When people focus only on what they are unhappy about, then everything becomes miserable and things become more of a struggle. They also begin to attract other people who are miserable and they become a ‘misery collective’ moaning and gossiping about how it won’t work. 

We know that the brain responds chemically to depression as well as to optimism. It also responds to fear and often what accompanies change is fear of the unknown.  What’s ironic is that in a lot of the situations we hear about, the current status quo isn’t all that great, but the prospect of change suddenly makes the present seem rosy.

This is certainly one technique worth trying for yourself when managing change –either change you will be experience and/or that others will be:  look for one thing you can agree with.  It doesn’t have to be big or major; just one thing you can say, “I think that’s a good idea.”  Help other people to find one thing as well (and it may very well be different from what you have chosen).  Put your attention on that one thing while all the rest is happening and see how many times you can refer to it when you talk to others, particularly those who are doing the most complaining.

The nay-sayers in any organisation can drag things down; can even become toxic so you want to limit their influence and their willing audience. 

It also means that as the change comes into play you really do have something to look forward to.

  
Check out Impact Factory’s Change Management courses.


By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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