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Change is a Journey

Four Tips To Make Change Better

Changing seasons, changing protocols, changing organizational goals and priorities...change, change, change! It never stops. Especially for those who work on projects or initiatives of any sort: I’m hard-pressed to think of any project example that didn’t cause some sort of change!

But change saturation is a thing. Sometimes we’ve just plain had enough change and aren't interested in any more! Change is challenging enough for some of us that sometimes even something that seemed like a good idea once doesn’t seem so great anymore. Big changes, small changes, lots of people, a few people, they all have some complexity and some risk to them. But they also all have some patterns, and some hope.

 

See if you recognize any of these what if’s:

  • What if you or someone you work with (or live with) looks at an impending change head-on and crawls back under the covers with a plaintive, “no thank you”? 
  • What if the reality of what you’re losing causes an overwhelming sense of grief or negative backlash?
  • What if you’ve started a change, and someone involved is ready to go back to where you were?
  • What if you still know it’s a good idea, but the hill ahead is just.too.daunting.?
  • What if you’ve lost sight of why you wanted to change in the first place?

 

When you’re faced with any of these, let me offer you four simple concepts to keep in mind that can help you move yourself and anyone nearby through change.

 

Change Appetite

People have different appetites for change, and those appetites change as regularly as one’s appetite for pizza. If someone’s appetite is higher, that’s a great time to build on their enthusiasm, set expectations about what’s coming, and take some forward action while you can. If their appetite is lower, you’ll want to be really intentional about listening to why their appetite is low, and making sure you address that before trying to drag them through. It doesn’t matter how great the pizza is, if I’m already full, I won’t enjoy another bite.

What to do?

Recognize someone’s change appetite and meet them where they are.

 

Change Model

Change is simply when one thing (A) ends, and another thing (B) begins. The truth of change is that you can’t be in both A and B at the same time, and you have to let go of one to take hold of the other. It turns out there are about 5 steps from being “stable in A” to “letting go of A” to that uncomfortable “unstable” period in between to the heavy lifting of “taking hold of B” and finally arriving at “stable in B”. Each one of these steps requires different messaging.

What to do?

Get familiar with the model so that you can help communicate the right message to people to meet their needs.

 

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is one that realizes that the skills, characteristics, and capabilities I have today can be developed, improved, and expanded by your experiences. This is the opposite of a fixed mindset that assumes that the intelligence or skills or raw talent I have today is all I’ll ever have. The bad news is that those with fixed mindsets have a much harder time with change. The good news is that you can develop a growth mindset in yourself and foster it in others by encouraging an environment of continuous improvement and learning. A growth mindset helps make the move from A to B more obvious and more urgent, which helps people through it faster.

What to do?

Adopt a growth mindset for yourself and co-create an environment that fosters a growth mindset for others.

 

People-Positive Attitude

Loving people, no matter what, makes the transition journey more fun. Think about it, you’re about to jump in a van with six other people and travel for several hours. Picture your own frame of mind with these two options: Option 1 has six people who each have quirks that get under your skin, who each have at least one thing about them that drives you nuts, and who each have done something at one time or another that frustrated you. Option 2 has six people who each have strengths that are really useful on a road trip, who each have at least one thing about them that you really delight in, and who have each done something one time or another that brightened your day. Which group sounds more fun? Option 2, right?! Now go back and read those two options again. They’re the same six people, just viewed from a different attitude. If you have a positive attitude about the people you’re with in the change journey, it’s easier to be with them through the change, and the journey itself becomes easier for all of you.

What to do?

Stop judging, start helping. You don’t have to like everything about them, but it’s easier to travel with them if you can find something you like about them. Start delighting in others, their value, and even their quirks. 

 

Change as a Journey

If you think of change as a burden or a hassle or an obligation, it’s harder to approach it with a smile on your face. But if you think of change as a journey or an adventure, you might be inclined to approach it a little more willingly. Not everyone experiences change exactly the same way, but there are some really predictable stages of the journey. If you get familiar with those stages, you can learn to anticipate where someone is and how they might respond, and you can start to meet their communication and transition needs before frustration builds.

What to do?

Learn to view change as a journey and help others along the way.

 

Want more? This is easily my favorite topic and I love talking about it. Reach out to me (contactus@yourclearnextstep.com or 515-442-0545) with any question related to change and transition and I promise to reply as soon as possible!

 

Topics: Change, YP, Sinikka Waugh, Change & Transition

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! contactus@yourclearnextstep.com

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