“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill
Change is a funny thing; we all go through change on a daily basis from the time we wake up, right through to the time we head back to bed. It could be a small change like changing the cereal we have for breakfast or the journey we take to work; right through to big life style changes like, moving house, changing jobs, becoming a parent etc.,
As individuals we adjust and change all the time based on the situation and the relationship we are in. Most people are at least slightly different based on the situation and circumstance they find themselves in e.g., as a parent, a husband or wife, a colleague, a manager / leader – I’m not talking about being a polar opposite of you, but we adjust and change based on the circumstance and situation we are in and act accordingly. We choose to change in these situations and understand the requirement to change and value this. Yet sometimes it can feel like we have to change as a consequence of decisions or actions taken by others; making us feel like change is out of our control and making us uncomfortable.
There will be times in our lives when we fear the change, change can make us feel vulnerable or anxious, this is especially true when it feels like we have little control or influence over what is about to happen. It is important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey; everyone experiences change and goes through the emotional cycle of change.
Below is a typical change curve that provides an illustration of different stages during times of change. People move through the stages at different speeds and can go through the cycle a number of times during change.
What is important is how we manage and maintain a positive attitude and the support we have during the time of change. HR are often leaders of organisational change and need to appreciate and support employees through this time. It is often small but important steps that help to alleviate the stress:
1. Openness and honesty – be as honest as possible about the circumstance and provide the reason for change
2. Leadership alignment and consistency – be consistent in reason for change
3. Open approach – a flow of two way communication – allow for questions not just an information flow
4. Valuable and timely communications – ensure communication is planned and delivered to the right people, don’t let the rumour mill start, often this causes more stress – here you need to go back to the first step of openness and honesty.
Often it isn’t the change that fails but the way it is managed. In 2014 where the only constant seems to be change, do you think Winston Churchill was right … “To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often”?