Change happens when something "new" starts or something "old" stops.
It's life. Period.
What's really important, personally and in organizations, is the ability for individuals and groups to re-orient themselves in order to find meaning in their changing situation. Most of the energy surrounding a life change or organizational initiative is focused on "the new thing." Yet transitions start with endings: people letting go of attitudes and actions that will no longer serve them well.
Think of the best disc jockey you've ever heard. You'll discover that the talent is in the segues--the transitions--from one song to the next. (S)he takes you on a musical journey that makes sense because of the connectedness "in between." Disc jockeys know that if people don't go through an inner process of transition, they won't end up at the right place with the right attitude for the next song.
When it comes to business life, managers can become so preoccupied with the content and technical aspects of the change that they forget the psychological effects on their people. (We often do the same thing to ourselves with personal changes). The result: disorientation and a mistaken diagnosis that people are "resistant" or "uncommitted." If the changes are well-founded, that's probably not true.
As I write this I'm involved in a major corporate change effort. Here are four things that people want in order to let go of the "old" and start the "new":
- A sense of control. Do your people (and you) feel you have some degree of control over what's happening?
- Information and understanding. Do you and your people really understand, in sensible terms, what's happening and why? (If you don't accurately answer the why question, the "what" is meaningless).
- Organizational & managerial support. What kind of practical (training, education, software, equipment) and emotional (time, listening, talking through situations) will be provided?
- Deep Purpose. What is it about the changes that give personal meaning to the new way of life/doing business?
Life contains a series of new situations and events which prompt us to want to achieve equilibrium. Think about the four items above. When you have them, you experience a sense of equilibrium that allows you some emotional rest and re-charging before the next "event" (there will be one).
Pay attention to these four factors. They'll help provide the kind of realignment and renewal that everyone needs to move through business and personal changes effectively.______________________
Two items about "new" and "change":
1. If you have a chance to join in, I'll be talking about Retention and Talent Management at 11 a.m today at HR.COM, sponsored by Halogen Software. We'll also be looking at real-life implementation by Kim Ellis, Senior Director of HR at SNC-Lavalin.
2. Earlier this year my dad dodged a bullet with a cancer test that was negative. Not so fortunate this month. While I normally post 4-5 days/week, I'll be posting "as often as possible" while the ongoing testing takes place, accurate data are gathered, and decisions are made. I will be checking comments and emails regularly but not as frequently as usual. All prayer graciously accepted.