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Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

What an Effective Change Management Process Looks Like

Friday, November 18th, 2016

We’d all like to find a “magic pill” for helping us deal with workplace change. But handling change is a process, and there’s often no quick or easy way through it. Just today, there was a major update rolled out for some software that everyone in our office uses. Collective groans rose up from every workstation, along with grumbles of “I HATE [insert software’s name here]!” and “Ugh. WHY did they change that??” And this was just a software update–imagine employee response when larger changes are announced, like projects being canceled, downsizing, a new manager being hired, or a brand-new work process being introduced. Rarely are organizational changes met with widespread enthusiasm, even when they turn out to be positive changes.stress-management

Change management training can help any organization prepare its employees for a change, and teach them strategies for managing the stressors and emotions that accompany transitions. In the workplace, change is often imposed — it is presented to us as a “done deal.” Managing the change, itself, may not be an option. What can be managed, and managed well, is our internal response to the change — our personal transition.

Change consultant William Bridges developed a three-stage transition model, a progression of experiences termed Endings, the Neutral Zone and Beginnings. Unlike normal processes where we start with the Beginning, during transitions, we begin at Endings and Beginnings is the goal! Viewing transition in terms of the three stages helps us understand that the needs, challenges and opportunities presented by change can be managed as a progression of responses.

The Endings stage is where we sever attachments to the old way of doing things, and it can be a painful and disruptive time for people. Here you should identify what is really ending, try not to overreact, and do what’s necessary to experience emotional acceptance of the “chapter” that is closing. For most people, the Neutral Zone is the most anxious, perplexing, and difficult of all the stages. It’s the period when you’ve let go of the past, but the future isn’t yet clear; you must learn to tolerate ambiguity in your work situation during the Neutral Zone. Finally, the Beginnings stage is where you are open to trying new experiences, and you take action to move forward with the “new way.” This is often the stage where people experience a realization that we are, after all, highly adaptive creatures.

Employing change management training is an effective strategy for helping employees manage these various stages of change. Good training will include effective change management activities which stimulate conversations and help employees practice or role-play the new change strategies and behaviors they’re learning. For example, here’s a change management activity that can be used at the start of a training session to help “break the ice”: Change Icebreaker Exercise: Pulse Check on Change.

CRM Learning offers numerous change management training video programs including these:

Taking Charge of Change features realistic workplace vignettes that illustrate William Bridges’ 3-step model for transitioning through the stages of change and making it work to your advantage.

Ready. Set. CHANGE! equips employees with skills to react smarter, adapt faster and engage together more productively when change comes around again.

Too Much Change? Here’s How to Avoid a Victim Mindset

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Change is a constant. Whether it’s the annual stress of open enrollment for health care (“Wait, what? My coverage is changing again?”) or an unexpected shift in your job focus (“But I thought the lime green widget was a priority. When did we change to the purple gizmo?”) — the one certainty is that change is going to happen.

Taking Charge of Change video imageAnd there’s one thing we do have control over: how we respond to change, even when it comes at us out of the blue.

We can get stuck being a victim. You know those people, right? They’re the ones holding a pity party in the break room. Or, we can respond positively and keep moving forward. You know those people, too. They’re the ones who are more fun and interesting to be around!

Here are five tips for staying out of a victim mindset, even when it seems like everything is blowing up around you. (more…)

A “Learning/Discovery” Approach to Change

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Today’s organizations face change in a variety of areas…at an unprecedented rate. And though we’ve been told that constant change is the “new normal”,  we usually look upon it with fear and negativity.

Susan Campbell, author of From Chaos to Confidence, has an interesting take on the topic.  Campbell views navigating change as being a lot like surfing:  “Successful surfers stay just ahead of the wave that could wipe them out at any moment.  They use the power of this very same wave, participating with the wave, not fighting it or trying to control it.”

In the same way, to survive in a constantly changing workplace, Campbell says we must learn to relate to our environment rather than trying to control it.

One way to do this is to shift our mindset from “Security/Control” to “Learning/ Discovery”.

If we maintain a Security/Control mindset we focus on stability ( i.e. knowing the rules, being around people like us and having things turn out predictably).  We don’t like uncertainty, change, lack of structure or people who don’t share our point of view.  We view change as a loss of control.

Alternatively, when we develop a Learning/Discovery mindset, we become open to experimenting in unfamiliar situations.  Because we relate to our environment rather that trying to control it, we focus on creatively developing ourselves to succeed in our changing environment.Instead of worrying about what we’ve lost, we ask, “What does this moment require of me?” This attitude shift is very empowering, making change an opportunity for growth.

According to Campbell, when we get trapped in a world of wishes and fears, we lose the power to deal effectively with reality and the options it holds.   The key to getting “unstuck” lies in letting go of attitudes and reactions that don’t work and focusing on ones that do, like those listed below: (more…)

Mentoring and Change: Creating an Environment for Successful Transitions

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Change ManagementChange is the Only Constant

Change is upon us, and we no longer doubt that it has become the way of life in our decade and beyond. In the real world, change occurs only when people embrace it, champion it, and have the courage to move onto uncharted paths. Successful change is about discovery and resistance, and attending to the needs of the people who are an integral element of the process.

Mentoring As Support for Change
Effective mentoring is a powerful way to address people’s needs during change, thus reducing resistance, and opening the path for the new desired future.

Mentoring Competencies That Support Growth
The ability to guide people through successful change is linked to specific mentoring competencies.

Successful mentoring relationships act as vehicles that enable people to develop the new behaviors that are necessary for change. These relationships are based on simple, but powerful principles:
• Mutual trust, developed as a result of mutual respect;
• Commitment to growth and discovery, through support and challenge;
• Openness to give and receive help and feedback;
• Commitment to action and results, the ability to make it happen.

Examples of Mentoring Help during Change

Each phase of transition offers different mentoring challenges. The following examples illustrate how mentoring behaviors can be tailored to meet specific needs.

Phase 1. Optimism
Early in the change process people may have an unrealistic view of what is required. Mentoring can provide a direction that keeps people on an even keel, and helps them understand the full impact of what is needed during change.
The mentor accomplishes this by asking good questions that help people identify their individual reactions to the change. This questioning process looks at both positive and negative aspects of the change, and helps identify future needs. By also sharing his/her own experiences with change, the mentor makes the change experience real and possible. (more…)

Helping People Through Workplace Change

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Helping People Through Workplace ChangeEven under the best of circumstances, human beings struggle with change in the workplace. Much of this is due to the fact that workplace change typically involves a fundamental alteration of the methods and procedures with which we have become comfortable. This in turn can make us bitter and resistant. We may lose our perspective and our ability to perceive our situation accurately. We may tell ourselves “we’re no good” at what we do anymore. Or, we may think we’d be better off in a different workplace and quit.

It is very common for people to dwell on the “good old days” to the point where they reject a new direction or method altogether–leading to a whole different set of problems between employees and co-workers and employees and supervisors.

Many organizations address this reality by offering training that helps employees reflect honestly on how change affects them emotionally, psychologically and physically. These employees can then build on their increased awareness and develop specific strategies to meet the needs underlying their personal reaction to change.

The Taking Charge of Change, Revised Edition video training program is a proven organizational change management tool. Built on William Bridges’ change cycle, the video uses vignettes (more…)

Accelerating the Possibility Curve

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

By Dewitt Jones

It’s 8am in the middle of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve been photographing snow geese since long before dawn.  Thousands stop here on their yearly migration and, until an hour ago, the morning sky had been crowded with them. Now, however, the sky is empty.

“They’ll bed down right after dawn and won’t get up for anything after that,” the Ranger had told me, “‘About the only thing that frightens them once they’re down is a low flying plane and we don’t get many of those around here.”

Well, they were sure “down” now. I could hear them all squawking somewhere over the corn rows in front of me. A good bit of hiking and I found them, thousands of them, in a tiny lake in the middle of the reserve.

I set up my long lens and waited.  An hour.  Not one flew.  Another hour.  Nope, they certainly were “down.”

In the heat of the morning, my mind began to wander. Strangely, looking at that empty sky and the immovable snow geese, I found myself thinking about the nature of change. In so many areas of our lives, we simply don’t want it. None of us want to get older, or face a new onslaught of IRS regulations, or like having our favorite TV series dumped unceremoniously from the airways. (more…)

Dealing with Organizational Change

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Business people meeting in the officeWe’ve all heard some form of the the saying, “The only thing certain in life are death and taxes.” Not to correct Benjamin Franklin, but another thing one could add to this list is “change”. For better or worse, change is (and will remain) constant both in our personal lives and in the workplace. Whether it be a favorite co-worker being transferred, a new more demanding boss, or increased responsibilities,  change at work takes us out of our comfort zone and creates problems if we’re not properly prepared.

In order to stay profitable and competitive in the world today, organizations must not only be able to roll with the punches, they must be able to thrive and grow in the face of them. A stagnant company will typically get left behind. Embracing change and innovation, and teaching employees how to accept and deal with change, is imperative for organizational success. Here are few training videos that provide valuable information on change management. (more…)

Just One Thing

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

“The secret to the big is the small.”

The first quote is an old African proverb; the second is from our training resource Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results.  Understanding them can help create a significant shift in perspective for anyone who feels limited in their ability to have a real impact or to demonstrate true leadership.

Combine that shift in perspective with these three questions, and you have a powerful (yet simple) approach to creating change, one small step at a time. (more…)

10 Steps to Surviving Change – Elegantly

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

By Sarah Steele
If I say the word CHANGE, how do you feel? Most people remain fearful, anxious and uncomfortable with change, despite it being a driving issue in our society. It appears that no matter how much experience we have it doesn’t get any easier.

Gaining a level of understanding that allows you to be productive, creative and flexible with your own life as well as helping others handle change is key to succeeding in today’s ever-changing world.

Follow these 10 steps to help you cope with the transitions in your life:

1. Recognize that things DO change
Nothing is forever. Neither the good, nor the bad. You will be much less frustrated if you accept the change and decide to manage it, rather than desperately try and cling onto the way things used to be.

2. Pinpoint the specific change you are going through
Because any change has a number of implications in different areas of our lives, we tend to generalize the change we are going through. Stay focused on one aspect of the change by identifying what you are most afraid of losing as a result of this change and then understanding why that loss is uncomfortable. For example, a new computer system may mean you will no longer feel competent. Feeling incompetent is a very different issue than fighting new technology, and can be easily addressed with training.

3. Accept the loss factor
Admit to yourself that regardless of whether or not you experience this particular change as good or bad, there will be a sense of loss. This is the “better the devil you know scenario” that leads us to put up with a situation we know isn’t good for us. Clearly define the change and recognize the areas of your life that will not change as a result.

4. Seek valid information
You will doubt the facts and struggle to believe anything you hear, see or feel about the change. Write down what information you need to know and who can provide you with that data. Ask straight questions, remain open to views that may be different to your own and listen to what you are being told.

5. Take action
Now that you have information, kick-start some forward momentum by taking both physical and mental action. Focus on taking the first baby step by setting priorities, committing to someone else what you will achieve and by when, and exercise (even if it’s only a 15 minute walk each day).

6. Recognize the Danger Zone
There comes a point where we choose to move on with the change and discover the opportunities it brings, or to give in to the fear of the unknown and remain fearful, anxious and in denial. Recognize that this normal, and don’t allow yourself to succumb. Increasing your small, regular action steps will help you keep that forward momentum going.

7. Make a decision
All the information you gathered may seem overwhelming. To avoid analysis paralysis set yourself a deadline for making a decision and do whatever it takes – even if you resort to flipping a coin! The secret to this is to break big decisions down into small, bite-sized chunks and work on one at a time. This way, decisions are easily reversible.

8. Identify the benefits
All change has some benefits. A divorce can give us the opportunity to have control of the remote, a new job could teach us new skills and starting your own business can provide you with the chance to follow your passion. Understand what the benefits of the change are and recognize them for the great gifts they bring you.

9. Change? What change?
I promise there will come a time when you stop looking at the change as something different. You will have integrated its challenges and victories into your life and will now feel more stable and open to what the future may hold. Remember everything you have learned for the next exciting, exhilarating and, oh ok, scary change.

10. Identify a change partner
Change is a constant in today’s society that you will go through many times in many different situations. Finding a change partner who is committed to encouraging you and supporting you will make the whole experience less scary and probably speedier. This may be a coach who can remain dispassionate, hold the mirror up to your fears and hold onto your highest goals. Or it might be a colleague at work who can help you see both sides of a situation.

Sarah Steele is founder of Atlantic Coaching, www.atlantic.coaching.com.
Article source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sarah_Steele

Training Resource: Taking Charge of Change
A rookie skydiver serves as a metaphor in this action-packed video, which helps people of all ages adapt to big changes – and thrive.


 

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