Seven Words That Can Kill Change
"Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better. "
~Sydney J. Harris
You and your organization (company, team, family, congregation, etc.) are facing a change. You’ve recognized the need to change, you’ve thought it all through, you’ve planned it out. Now it’s time to communicate it to everyone involved. You’ve crafted the perfect message to “sell” the change and how important it is. During your delivery, you can see that you’re getting through to them. This change is going to be great! Then you utter the seven words that throw a wet blanket on the whole thing – “This isn’t that big of a deal.”
You might think that you’ve planned this change out so that it will have a low impact on everyone. However, it very well could be a big deal for someone. You just don’t know until you announce what you’re planning to do.
In the “Make Change Work for You” workshop, we learn that people experience a change in one of three levels:
Minor – The change is a “blip on the radar.” It’s truly not a big deal.
Major – The change is going to take some getting used to. It might even be hard. Eventually, they “get there.”
Traumatic – The change is life-altering. Things will not be the same after this.
Along with the “level of severity” of the change, people also react to it in one of four ways:
Resistant – These people have negative feelings and/or thoughts about the change. This is probably because the change is causing them to sacrifice something that they can’t or don’t want to give up. They need someone to talk to.
Receptive – These people see the good in the change, they just don’t know how they are going to make it work for them. They need help sorting out the details.
Instinctive – These people just react to the change and “dive in” without considering how their behaviors affect other people (usually negatively). They need help understanding how they are affecting the people around them.
Resilient – These people move forward into the change courageously and with confidence. If they “hit a bump” when adjusting to the change, they work it out. They can also help others become resilient.
In any given change situation, you may have people who see the change as minor, major or traumatic. You may also have a combination of people who are resistant, receptive, instinctive or resilient. Because of this, you can’t treat change management as a “one size fits all” thing. You need to help each person become resilient in his/her own way.
If you are going through any kind of change (individually or as part of a group), I can help you or your team work through the process of becoming resilient. The “Make Change Work For You” and “Help Others Make Change Work” workshops help with this process. These short sessions help you learn tools and a repeatable process that can help you with change in both your personal and professional life. It also works well for those unannounced/unplanned changes that we all encounter.
What changes are you going through right now? Are they minor, major or traumatic? How are you reacting to the change? Remember to do all you can to become resilient to change.