If you are intimidated or fearful by change, you are not alone. Some people thrive on change. They look at it as a new challenge or adventure. Other people, probably most people, fear change. They fear that it will disrupt their routine and the normalcy of life. Like it or not, change is inevitable in both your personal and professional life. There is no doubt about it, and some changes aren’t fun. But many changes are beneficial to you, and those changes will help you grow.
You may feel like CHANGE is happening suddenly and abruptly and that you have no control. The truth most CHANGES personally and professionally occur long before we feel the manifestation of them. Guaranteed you have felt a knowing of this CHANGE coming for some time. If it’s happening NOW within you and around you, then it means you are ready. Remember we hold power to all the CHANGE happening within us and around us.
There is an old saying that if you don’t CHANGE, life will CHANGE for you. Some of the risks of not going with the flow of CHANGE can be personal and professional conflicts, financial hardships losses, loss of passion, emotional depression, physical ailments and more….
One Entertainer, I worked closely with was always “late” for everything, or so I thought. I encouraged him to start being “on time” more. His response; It’s all good. I am never ON time, but I am always IN time. Think about it, what a true statement! What he was saying is; You should NEVER be in a rush to do anything. In reality, life is like an orchestra. It has a tempo unique to every person, business or circumstance. At times that rhythm is calm, slow and soothing and other times it’s more upbeat and high speed. It is essential to pay attention the tempos and move with them accordingly. If you delay, that is where overthinking, and confusion happens. This only propels more suffering and resistance for the CHANGE that is upon you.
If personal well-being or professional success of the organization depends on change, then you can expect the change to happen with or without you. Waiting will usually not change the outcome. In most cases, a company will change – even in the face of resistance from family members or employees – especially if success is at stake.
Your choices and their consequences depend on the phase of change you are experiencing. In some case, choice’s you make may have adverse outcomes. They may be bad for your personal and professional surroundings. Remember decisions of any kind are still a result of CHANGE. Although it’s not always avoidable, the key is to be in alignment with the CHANGES that bring the least amount of resistance and suffering to yourself and those around you.
The benefits of supporting the change, especially that are critical to the success of the long-term purpose of the person or organization include; Improved mental and emotional well-being, increased financial growth, new opportunities for all involved, enhanced respect for oneself both personally and professionally.
Data and experience show that efficient change management drives greater benefit realization and achievement of results and outcomes. CHANGE capabilities mean greater success on personally and professionally on critical projects and initiatives. It is ideal to ask yourself a few fundamental questions:
- Do I have the capacity to handle the amount of CHANGE that is about to happen?
- What is the cost of the CHANGE I will encounter?
- Do I feel prepared both intentionally and externally for the CHANGE?
- Do I have a standard approach in place for the CHANGE?
There are substantial questions you must ask yourself before embarking on any change. Some of them include but are not limited to;
- What are the drivers of this CHANGE both internally and externally?
- What is the type of CHANGE I wish to accomplish?
- What is the scope of the CHANGE I wish to see?
- What is the overall strategy for the CHANGE?
- Which individuals and stakeholders will be affected by the CHANGE?
- What resources do I need to support the CHANGE?
- What is the risk of NOT CHANGING?
When you start on the journey of CHANGE, it is essential to building a framework or a blueprint for change because this will provide critical direction to the effort. Without this Architectural plan, individuals or corporation/organizations will fall into the trap of chaos and confusion. While some progress can be made, you will find you have not yet made the crucial core shift necessary to build an actual permanent change to CHANGE. Structuring the efforts through a Change Manager/Agent is essential to create a real organizational change management capability.
Here are a few road-map questions to ask yourself when you are ready for CHANGE:
- Current State – how are things done today
- Future State – how will things be done once the initiative is implemented
- Transition State – how do we move from Current State to the Future State
- People Side – what support and buy-in is needed to reach the Future State
It can be challenging to communicate the CHANGE that is happening in your life when you are trying to get an understanding of all that is happening around you. The best thing you can do in the beginning is to go within and withdraw to get the clarity you need for the steps. Once you have an initial idea of where you want, then you can bring in a selected few for support; such as family, friends or business partners. This, in the end, is the best thing you can do not only for yourself but also for others.
When communicating CHANGE within your organization, senior leaders and stakeholders need to relay company goals and strategy to all employees, and the most efficient way to do this is through a strategic narrative. A strategic -narrative centers on a leader’s ability to articulate a clear and compelling vision and strategy for the future of the an individual, company or organization. A powerful strategic narrative paints a picture of how a company’s past, present, and future fit together in a broader strategic context.
The brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail. But why? In most of the cases, organizational-change failures are driven by not being 100% and committed to the changes, negative attitudes, self-interest, and unproductive support behavior.
Data shows that 65% of organizations have an agreed-upon strategy. 14% of employees understand the organization’s strategy. Less than 10% of all organizations successfully execute the strategy. There is an often-missing component that, if consistently applied, will dramatically enhance the progression of strategy creation, communication, and execution. That critical element is BEING IN ALIGNMENT.
The ultimate goal of the change is to achieve the desired change with the maximum amount of positive benefits and efficiencies and a minimum of negative effects on all individuals and stakeholders.
Ultimately change starts within and at times can be a lonely journey. It is always helpful to have that one person, a trustworthy confidant (Change Manager/Agent) who can give you a neutral perspective of what changes will need to happen to you. This is why an experienced Change Manager/Agent is so valuable. They often are removed personally from the situation and can maneuver political and emotional landscapes that would otherwise blind side the individual or company that is making the changes.
In general, the most fruitful success strategy is to begin understanding those who are affected by the CHANGE. This could include family, friends, relatives, support team, etc. What is their history with the individual/company? What is their role? What is their long-term vision for themselves and their role within the experience of change? It is a step-by-step process and one that must be handled with sensitivity and with a politically correct position.
There is no easy way to say this. When it comes to CHANGE and growth, there are no guarantees that you will NOT need to shed much of what is currently around you. This could include both personal and professional surroundings. Including but not limited; support team changes, executive team members, family, friends, home changes, work partnerships, financial changes and creative directions. This is all part of growth and why 70% of people talk about how much they want to change, but never execute the CHANGE. This is why it’s important to involve an experienced Change Manager/Agent to support the process.
Anyone involved or associated with the individual/corporate where CHANGE is happening will be affected. Whether the ripple of that CHANGE affects them on a small or large level is all about how physically close and emotionally invested they are in the situation. The best way to handle any concerns or fears is first by having a clear road map of the CHANGE and through honest communication.
The supporters of CHANGE are NOT necessarily known until the actually CHANGE begins. The ones we thought would always support the CHANGE the most end up being the ones who resist most. The ones we least expect to rise up during CHANGE end up being your biggest supporters and cheerleaders. It is important to take a clear inventory of individuals and team members around you. This is something that is done with an experienced Change Manager/Agent to get clarity from a neutral perspective, as they are not emotionally invested.
No matter how much planning you do to reinforce the CHANGE, there is never a “perfect time” for when and how this happens. When it happens depends on a combination of “Divine Time” “natural flow” and more logical goals of financial and project deadlines. Regarding reinforcement, there are two types. The first being positive reinforcement, this model can be a useful tool to shape and change behavior those affected. It works by presenting a motivating item (such as time off, raise, bonus package) the person is motivated incentivized the adjustment proposed to them. Negative reinforcement is the removal of specific items like; title, position and pay cuts to meet the goals of the CHANGE set forth.
Conducting a baseline assessment is an ideal process that will help any individual or organization to identify potential and actual barriers to change. Walls will always create a gap in recommended and current practices, eventually having an adverse effect on the daily process of the individual/organization. To prevent this from happening, it would be appropriate to pinpoint on the significant barriers to change as well as knowing how to stay clear of them until you get an understanding of how you will execute particular area of CHANGE. Once you know how to solve these barriers, it should be easy to plan and implement change.
You cannot over-communicate when you are asking an individual or organization to change. Every successful person or executive, who has led a successful change management effort, expresses the need for over-communicating during a change experience and makes this statement in retrospect. No organization exists in which employees are thrilled with communication. Communication is one of the toughest issues in individual’s life or organization. This change should come directly from the “source” of the change such as Management and Leadership.
This is the value of an experienced Change Manager/Agent. If you are going through CHANGE which means all that comes with it…emotionally, mentally, physically then it is at times hard for you to be there for others in a way that requires an immense amount of support. The best thing one can do is seek advice and help from an experienced Change Manager/Agent who is experienced in CHANGE for individuals, companies, and organizations.
This can be determined by the level of resistance you experience within the CHANGE you are implementing. Chaos in any situation is a good indicator that there is confusion in the direction of CHANGE. This is where communication is vital to any and all parties involved. The balance between when to move forward and when to pull back is an art form and one most difficult things people will experience in life especially when going through CHANGE.
The best to motivate and support people during change is by “storytelling.” This is where you bring them into the story, journey and possibilities of a bright future. Regardless of the outcome, people want to know that there something better on the other side of the CHANGE. If there the opportunity for abundance and growth both personally and professionally within or without the experience then you have support.
The best way to release guilt that comes with CHANGE is by making sure your “intention” monitor is centered. This means always asking yourself; “what is the intention of the CHANGE I am about to make?” If it is towards the path of LOVE (joy, happiness, peace, prosperity) in any capacity, then you are on the right track. If it is because of FEAR, (resentment, anger, jealousy, greed, fear), then you are head down a path of not being in alignment with your end goal. Excess guilt is one of the most massive and unhealthiest weights a person can hold. It’s like strapping an extra 100+ pound backpack on your back and trying to go about your day. Fortunately, just as a CHANGE in how you approach your body can help shed excess body weight (i.e., eating healthy and exercising), a CHANGE in how you approach your thoughts can help you dropped excess guilt.
I’ve spent the past 46 years of life experiencing extensive CHANGE, speaking about CHANGE, interviewing people about their experiences, researching the features that are most associated with significant transformations that endure over time. And here’s my conclusion: You will never be 100% prepared for when and how that CHANGE happens. It is indeed a mystery, a process so complex and multidimensional that it defies understanding.
The top most stressful life events include; Entrepreneurship, Professional changes, Retirement, Death of a spouse, Divorce, Marital separation, Imprisonment, Death of a close family member, Personal injury or illness, Marriage, Dismissal from work, Marital reconciliation, Retirement.
The first step in making meaningful changes in your life involves gaining a better understanding of yourself in essential areas that impact your life. This self-knowledge can provide you with direction as you try to maximize your efforts at change. Self-knowledge can also help you be more efficient and focused – and more efficient – in producing CHANGE because you’ll know precisely what you need to work.