The implementation of change is disruptive and jolts the people affected into a new reality which they have to learn to cope with. Change management is very effective when the different steps people go through when undergoing change are understood.
1. Loss of Safety
As news of change arrives, there is uncertainty and fear. When the changes are done the people affected will most likely feel lost, angry and shocked. The loss of control over what is happening leads many to paralysis as they cannot predict the course of their actions. The initial stages of change make the affected feel like they are driving on an unknown road that heads to who knows where, but they cannot get out of the moving vehicle. It is very crucial for fear to be managed in this step of change.
2. Doubting Reality
In this step the affected cannot believe that change has happened. This step is characterized by skepticism and resistance. There will be levels of anger and finger pointing. Accusations fly as to who is not doing their job well and who is at fault. There will be mistrust and breakdowns of communication if there is inadequate information provided on the changes. Continued education on the changes and how they work and will be implemented is the way to navigate successfully through this step.
3. Moving from Discomfort to Motivation
In this step people will try to assimilate, organize, categorize and make more sense out of the ongoing change. There is a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty as people try to get back to a semblance of order and get a sense of their position in the new order of things.
4. Discovery to Perspective
In this step, information on change has been received well and understanding of the change begins to sink in. People will see the change in a new light and begin re-aligning themselves with the change. This is occasioned by broader perspective and identifying opportunities that the change presents.
5. Understanding the Benefits
The benefits of change are seen at this stage as people fully align themselves with the change and work actively to support the change and achieve the goals set. There is more understanding of what it takes to make the change work and documentation of lessons learned can be recorded to guide future transitions.
The changes are fully integrated into life both in and out of work. The affected individuals are able to appreciate the impact of change in their work and are even willing to have others undergo the same change to see the benefits.
As a manager, how have you navigated disruptive changes in the workplace? Do these steps seem familiar to you? What did you learn from the transition process? Join the conversation here on the Atomic Blog or on social media and contact us to receive the latest resources on management techniques and success.