Monday, November 16, 2009

Building Resilience to Change

I have been reading an amazing book by Jeanie Daniel Duck where she talks about the human and emotional side of change - and how change interventions that ignore the "change monster" are doomed to failure.
We often attend programs on how to lead and manage change effectively and team leaders and managers learn skills in setting plans in place and implementing them.
More recently we are receiving requests from organisations to assist them in working with team members AND their managers to assist them in coping with the amount of change that confronts them. How do you guide the team through a process of dealing with the "change monster" - a catchphrase for all the deep human emotions that are triggered by organisational change.
We have a well developed program for managers on leading change and on setting practical strategies for following the key steps to achieving a positive outcome.
In response to client requests, we have recently developed a 1 day and a 1/2 day program that targets team members and assists them in dealing with the emotional elements of a transformation and change process. The emotions that emerge are complex, often frightening and are not always visible. What skills, thought processes and behaviours could be useful in navigating the many mergers, reorganisations and changes in strategy, policy and process that occur in organisations? How do individuals maintain their levels of motivation and and cope with the realities of living through major changes.
The program is totally experiential and no course manuals or notes are distributed. The room is set up with chairs in a circle and in some instances pushed to the side of the room. A series of activities commences and after each activity there is a guided de-brief. Through the de-brief, skills and behaviours are discussed and addressed and key messages are explored.
Some of these key messages are:
Acknowledge all the change monsters in the room - this is the first step to begin to surface what is normally swimming way below the ice berg.
Understand and make use of the power of the team - supportive teams have the ability to assist in moving people through change. When people band together to conquer the change monster, they usually do!
The need to behave differently and think differently - how can we extend ourselves to take on a different perspective and to meet new challenges. All of this takes immense courage - what stories of inspiration are there to cope with all the heightened emotions of change
We all have endless possibilities - how can we awaken these and find what inspires us. Once we have found what inspires us, how do we integrate this passion into our working environment.
Setting individual behavioural contracts - answering questions around which behaviours need to stop, start or change and also thinking through the ways in which we might sabotage ourselves as well as what is the positive payoffs and rewards for stretching ourselves.

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