Facilitating the Emotions of Change and Change Conflict in Business and at Work


While Change Management as a term and a discipline can sound technical and dry, facilitating change in the workplace is quite the emotional endeavor, as illustrated by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Change Model:

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When introducing change into a workplace – for example, the introduction of computers into the workplace produced enormous change and equally enormous emotions – current best practice is to plan both training and communications to help employees get productively through the change. My friends and colleagues who worked in state government agencies at the time remember how older employees retired rather than learn how to use a computer – those older employees never left the shock phase on the Change Curve.

And if the emotions generated by change (as illustrated on the Change Curve, above and below) aren’t enough in the midst of significant workplace change, conflict often can arise when colleagues are experiencing different emotions as a result of being in different places on their respective Change Curves:

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For as we learn in basic mediation training, the source of all human conflict is needs met and unmet:

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And if I need information, while you need reassurance, the emotions of change can be compounded and magnified by the conflict arising from different needs in the face of change:

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In communicating a significant organization change this past week, a colleague actually used the Change Curve (they had just learned the Change Curve theory themselves) to help support their colleagues as part of that change communication – sounds like a leadership best-practice to me.

How will you best lead, facilitate and mediate change this week and beyond, in business and at work?

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