‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.’  – Charles Darwin

Here at Stratus, we have been considering just how much change has accelerated in the workplace, particularly as we now come blinking into the sunlight towards our post-Covid world. How has this impacted on the way our clients and other organisations manage change effectively? Let’s look at the three promises of change:

  • Change won’t go away; it will only get faster
  • No matter how much you plan and prepare, something will go wrong
  • Everyone is personally accountable for making change successful

The world continues to change, but now it changes more quickly and in a much less predictable way. The immediate future is VolatileUncertainComplex and Ambiguous.

The only way in which we will be able to successfully deal with what is the ‘new normal’ is to accept it and adapt, in other words, to become far more flexible.

The emotional journey of transition has four main steps or stages that everyone experiences in one form or another. These are: Denial, Loss, Transition and Ownership.

Whilst effective change involves moving through all four stages, each person or group will move at a different pace and may often get stuck at a particular stage.

Trying to push changes too quickly and ignoring individual reactions to change creates problems later.
Some of the pitfalls are:

  • assuming once a change is announced people will, or ought to, adopt it
  • ignoring, denying or resisting the natural emotional process of employees’ resistance
  • forging ahead prematurely with new plans and team building when there is a loss of trust and co-operation, as a result of the changes
  • pushing for performance and productivity too soon, as there will be an unavoidable period of lower performance during any period of change

Why not replace your old VUCA approach with a new, more positive outlook?
Use Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility instead, in order to:

  • first, find out how the ‘resistors’ see things, listen to what they say
  • spending time to get all of the resistors on board is worth it if they become committed
  • understand their resistance but suggest to them that a different view is possible.
  • pushing or driving changes forward often increases the amount of resistance or opposing forces
  • engage them by laying out the reasons for, and the problems of, the change – in a logical way to aid understanding.