Liz Farmer, HR Consultant, ESC
In today’s world change is constant! Whether in the workplace or in our personal lives change is always taking place. Some people enjoy change and embrace it while many others resist change or try to halt the progress of it.
Change comes in many different forms: a new baby, changing careers, moving to a new city, and technology changes just to name a few. It can be invigorating and exciting or feel scary and uncertain.
Change is both a journey and a destination. As you travel along the change route, you will meet people with their own attitudes and views about change. Our attitude about change directs our attitude about the outcomes of change.
The Change Process
We’re going to take a look at the change process, how we can help ourselves and others better understand it and adapt to the process more readily which in turn can reduce stress.
There are four common reaction to the change process:
- People who thrive on change – These folks actually enjoy change and thrive in an environment where things are constantly changing. They are quick to adapt to new things and results oriented.
- People who aren’t bothered by change – These are the optimists who look for innovative ways to deal with the impending change. This approach helps keep others motivated during the process.
- People who resist change – Some people need time to adjust to the concept of an impending change taking place. They may seem to ‘tolerate’ or ‘put up with’ the change until they become acclimated to the new norm.
- People concerned with change – Other people are more cautious with change when it’s happening. They are concerned with the impact the change will have on processes. They will question or challenge why things need to be changed therefore they may be more resistant overall.
Studies show that change is a major source of stress for many people. It requires us to let go of the past in order to move forward with something new – new challenges and opportunities. While many people feel that change can be managed by controlling things around you, it’s actually best managed from within yourself.
The ADKAR Model
The ADKAR model is a change model that is worth considering. It focuses on outcomes. I like this model because people can see where they are in the change process at any time. Communication strategies can be focused around each of the steps as well.
Each part of the ADKAR model gives people a specific role: I.E. If you feel you are struggling with the impending change, you may need knowledge on ‘how’ to change OR you may lack the ability to implement the necessary skills or behaviors. This is where training (knowledge & information phase) OR coaching would come into play to help give you the confidence (and ability) you need to perform effectively.
Understanding ‘WHY’ change is needed – in this step the reasoning and thought around the change is communicated.
At this stage, we make a personal decision to support and participate in the change. To effectively do this we need to understand the personal incentive or ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WII-FM), this will help create the desire to change. The goal is to have people WANT to participate in and support the change.
In this stage, training and education is taking place. In addition to formal education, it can include Coaching and Group meetings.
There are two types of Knowledge needed:
> Knowledge on ‘how’ to change
> Knowledge on how to perform once the changes are implemented
Once the knowledge is in place the practice or performance takes place. This stage can take some time and is achieved through daily practice, coaching and feedback.
In this stage, efforts to sustain the change are emphasized. Ensuring that the changes stay in place (so we don’t revert back to our ‘old’ ways) can be achieved through positive feedback, recognition, and measuring performance as necessary.
Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 of Moving through Change.