Change is an ever-present constant in the life of any growing company. Change is necessary for a company to continue that path of growth. And change is one of the hardest things for the people of any organization to embrace. One of the most important jobs of a leader is to successfully navigate their people through those changes. To do so a leader must understand the fundamental transitions their people experience and help them to process through those transitions as smoothly and quickly as possible while maintaining integrity and the balance between accountability and inspiration. The traditional models for implementing change have proven to be ineffective and detrimental to an organization and their employees. The enthusiasm of a small task group who has already gone through the whole change process in their world does not transfer to the rest of the organization by force of will. That is why nearly 70% of all change initiatives FAIL. The traditional model doesn’t take the very human nature of the employee into account.

As the Millennial workforce is growing we see a shift in the work/life balance; the hands of work and life are no longer separated, they are clasped together. Thus, our workforce is much more emotionally invested in their work life than any previous generation. A greater understanding of the Emotional Change model, in the 8th workshop, “Supporting Yourself and Others Through Change”, is invaluable as a leader of this emerging workforce. This model illustrates the three phases a person experiences in any change initiative.

In the first phase, Endings, the employee may feel some sense of loss or even grief as the old way disappears. A way of life they have known is ending. While there will be those who resist the change because they love the old way and see nothing wrong with it, there will be some who are immediately excited to leave the old way to move onto something new and exciting! The second phase, Transition, is a time that can feel much like walking across a rope bridge. To some it is frightening and uncertain; while to others it’s an opportunity to take leaps and bounds with a sense of adventure. The last phase is actually the Beginning phase. This marks the beginning of a new, better way of operating in the organization! Like the previous phases, there are differences in how people process this phase. Because we all have our “Box of Life” (covered in depth in workshop #1, “The Seven Most Common Mistakes Leaders Make”) we all go through each phase in completely different ways and speeds. All three phases have their own characteristics, emotions, behaviors, risks of getting stuck in that phase, and needs and communication behaviors from the leaders to the employees. This workshop helps a leader see very clearly what they thought they knew and what they didn’t know they didn’t know to make their team flow through change as smoothly as possible and to have more understanding and empathy toward their co-workers. As a result, everyone is part of moving the whole organization forward!

By Laura Smyer | Facilitator/Coach