Managing Change and Transition

An Overview

It's not so much that we're afraid of change,
or so in love with the old ways,
but it's that place in between we fear...
it's like being in between trapezes.
It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer.
There's nothing to hold on to."
M. Ferguson


Why is Executing Change so Challenging?

1. People will resist change. Some of the strongest resistance will occur from what people ask for. Why? “Uninformed Optimism is always followed by “Informed Pessimism” and humans will choose the comfort of familiarity over the anxiety that comes with the unknown.

2. We live in an era of perpetual change/unrest. We have more unrest today than 20 years ago. In fact we have only just crossed the threshold of perpetual unrest. We need to expect more change. Today represents the least amount of ambiguity we will face. So, we need to stop assuming we are one project away from things settling down.

3. We’ve run out of the resources required to deal with change. Absorbing change requires physical, emotional, and intellectual energy. On any given day human being can only absorb so much change before capacity reaches overload and they are pushed into “future shock”. The dysfunctional symptoms of “future shock” occur when the demands for adaptation to change exceed the current adaptation capacity. What is change related dysfunction? - Any action or feeling that diverts resources away from meeting productivity and quality standards.

4. We incorrectly focus an inordinate amount of energy into trying to make people feel comfortable during a major change. Reality is they won’t – dramatic change is uncomfortable. The leader’s role in change is not to make people feel happy about the change: it’s helping them succeed despite their discomfort. It is not necessary for people to like what has happened to them – it is necessary that they make adjustments that will help them succeed...

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