Call Me Now +447411765625

Are You Awake To Change?

Are You Awake To Change?

ChangeChange has been quite a topic for me this week, both from a personal point of view and from some of my clients.

Change models are helpful and I have found with clients that any approach to change and therefore the preferred model, depends pretty much on the situation and the preference of the person wanting to instigate the change.

Standard models, like Kotter’s “8-Step Process for Leading Change” are effective and helpful, and for some are enough.  I always find it helpful to illustrate Lewins “Force Field Theory of Change” when looking at resistance to change, although even setting out how behaviours and resistance will manifest, doesn’t usually prepare people for the actual experience of these phenomena when the process is underway.

Levels of change are best described in Bandler and Grinder’s “NLP Logical levels” which is for me one of the most helpful models, because it clearly describes the hierarchy of change.

There are many more models out there, so why is it then when change is happening, even when teams are aware of the Kubler-Ross change curve, does it often become so distasteful, stressful frightening and difficult?  Is it simply because the experience of actually going through change is much messier than the models lead us to believe it will be?

Through years of experience of leading change and helping to lead change I have found some common factors which help to make the process of change much easier, less painful and less problematical.    These factors I call AWAKE.  I am not a big fan of acronyms but without any effort the five factors fit, so without apology I present them in this way, because you never know, thinking of AWAKE might help you to remember these factors the next time you are involved in a change, whether personal or work based.

The five factors are all about the energy which is brought to the change.  It doesn’t matter which model is used, if the underlying energy isn’t right then the change will be more difficult; take longer and be riskier.  I have broken the factors down as follows.

Attention

We

Attitude

Kindness

Energy

 

Attention

Any change needs to have attention.  This is about the concentrated focus of the mind and the mind-set either in your personal life or your organisation.  To achieve real successful change, the change must become the most important thing in the universe during the time it takes to initiate, implement and achieve the outcomes. It is akin to Kotter’s first step about creating urgency, but it is more than that.  If you have several programmes, projects or changes going on at once, then the order of attention, priority and importance must be determined. If too much is going on, attention is diluted, the change is slower, and the impetus is lost.

We

It doesn’t matter if your change affects a team, an organisation, your family, or it is an individual change, like giving up smoking or moving house.  As an individual you have different aspects to your personality just as much as there are different personalities in a collective change.  For example if you want to give something up, then there are parts of your personality which don’t want to.  If you want to change something in the organisation then there will be people who don’t want to.  There will also be aspects of you, which do want the change, and people in the team who embrace change readily.  The difficulties arise when opposing parts of yourself or people in the team become pitted against each other, even if this is in the short term, and this is when conflict arises.

If you recognise that when change occurs, all parts of the organisation (or all parts of you), need to be understood and listened to:  Then conflict is understood and dealt with, and any potential for hidden or unconscious sabotage or resistance is lessened.  Coming from the power of “We” takes a certain level of maturity because it needs the understanding that “we are all in it together”, “the sum parts make a whole”, and “everyone counts”.  The stock phrase for this dynamic is that “we are changing, and we all count”.

Attitude

I would like to bet that instigators of change believe they have the right attitude because they fervently believe that they want the change, they know the change is for the better, it can benefit all.  They have a vision and they understand deeply the benefits.  Sometimes though, during the change, conscious or unconscious doubt becomes apparent. The doubt is not about whether the change is needed, it is about whether the change can actually be made.   For individuals they may fear their own levels of resilience, or for leaders they may doubt the ability of some of their team to make it.  The attitude to change must be one of “Can do”.  It sounds simple I know, but that resistance if not uncovered right from the outset can slow down and sabotage change unwittingly.

Kindness

If any of you have gone through difficult or long-winded change which has proved stressful, combatant, or fraught with problems, then along the way you may have experienced the tensions and conflicts brought out the worst in everyone involved.  If at the outset, you make one of the conditions of change to be kind to one another (or kind to yourself); the energy of the conflict, resistance or problem simply has to change.  It might sound corny, but if you are talking about a particular problematic aspect or dealing with fears or resistance, to start off the interchange with “How can we remain kind in this situation?” just changes the dynamic.

Energy

The AWAKE model is all about the often unspoken energy which is brought to the process of change.  To acknowledge the process of change as energy can be empowering, as it raises awareness.  There are two further aspects of energy to consider:

Firstly, Newton’s 3rd Law, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions” and

Secondly, Ghandi’s often misquoted declaration; “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him”

If you are awake to change you will have a head start

What these mean in practice is: If you voice your frustration, or have low expectations about yourself or the people involved in the change then that becomes your experience.    If you complain about others, then you are slowing down the change, because the energy you are emitting becomes part of the change process.  Even though you might think others don’t notice, on the level of energy they know something isn’t quite right, and they will react accordingly.

So there you have it:  Are you AWAKE when making change?

9 Comments
  1. I was particularly interested in your take on “Attitude”, Christina; a subject I almost missed while researching my book, “The 7 Keys to Change” (the7keystochange.com). If you don’t mind I would like to suggest an additional attitude dynamic.

    You talked of “unconscious doubt” including questioning whether the proposed change is actually necessary, or that those who must make the change will measure up to the task. I agree; however another form of this comes from a deeper place.

    A doubt based on fears that are difficult to express. “Boogie man in the dark” stuff. The unknowns having to do with things we not only do not know but cannot even imagine. Whether we recognize it or not the root cause of our unconscious doubts.

    We know they’re out there; we just don’t know what they are or when and how they will present themselves. And because we know we don’t know, we fear them, often enough so to stop ourselves from even attempting the change we wish to make.

    More than anything this has proved to be the most elusive challenge my clients must face when attempting to manage change.

    • Hi Bill

      Thanks so much for your comments. Your observation about deep fears is particularly interesting and I think one of the reasons we don’t all fulfill our potential I have some metaphysical theories although I know not everyone subscribes to a spiritual journey. Do you cover this topic in your book?

      Thanks again and I hope you’re having a great week. Best Christina

      • I did not cover this in “7 Keys” Christina although I now see that I could have, or that someone should.

        Ironically I am currently having a similar discussion with the host of a spiritual/psychic radio show as well. I suggested me a guest discussing the more practical side of personal change management (my non spiritual categorization for what it seems to me is the goal of his show), juxtaposed against his views on the subject.

        He quickly agreed but the more I think about it the more concern I have about the reaction from his audience when hearing me say, “Be as spiritual as you want but at the end of the day there are still some things you must do for yourself if you want to have better outcomes from the change you will undoubtedly experience.”

        While I wouldn’t be that blunt, I imagine you get the idea. At any rate I’ve put the question to him and we will see where this goes.

        • Hi Bill, I do understand your concerns. I think the problem I find is the word “spiritual” for me it is very different to some beiief/definitions. It is a very deep subject. But whether you believe we are in reality spiritual beings experiencing life in a physical body or a physical being, who can tap into a spiritual realm; the fact remains if you want results on the physical plane you have to keep moving, so I wholeheartedly agree with you. If you don’t act not much happens :)). I’ll be interested in how you get on.

          • You raise another very important subject, one that is pervasive in all communication. Our use of terms with many different perceived meanings (I do address this in the book relative to planning.)

            When it comes to my consideration for the radio show, that definitely includes things like “spiritual” and “religious”. And when working with others on a business plan, planning terms such as “strategy” and “tactics”. There are generally accepted definitions for all these and more but that doesn’t stop them being grossly misused. And when that happens, I believe communication stops. It’s surprising there isn’t more miscommunication than there is.

            • Hi Bill, I think you are spot on. Leading teams for many years I frequently fell into the trap of thinking we were all on the same page, when in fact, we were all off with our own interpretation of what was meant! I think there is a lot of miscommunication, and that’s why keeping dialogue going is so important. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply I didn’t receive a notification that you had commented! Hope you have a great day. Christina

  2. Loved AWAKE…yes I am :-)

    • Roopak, thank you :)) Thank you for your continued support here and elsewhere. I think you are definitely switched on AND awake! :)) Wishing you a brilliant week! – Christina

Leave a Reply

Never Miss An Article!

Never miss a new article!  Sign up now to get regular emails directly to your inbox!