Empathy. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes.

We were brainstorming a topic for the next CMP meetup and Vicki Young, of Planpower suggested:

as change managers and change leaders we often have to work to overcome resistance to change. In the situation where you are personally impacted by organisational change did you find yourself ignoring it, resisting it, filling the communication void with your own thoughts? What did you learn from your own reactions that you can apply to your Change Management and Change Leader work and what would you have done differently?

How apt. Some of you have noticed a distinct drop off  of the change nuggets, and blog posts. Twelve weeks ago, my father was diagnosed with two very serious illnesses (because Frahms never do anything by half!).  Suddenly the change manager had to manage pretty huge transformative change. Change that doesn’t lend itself to glass half full or a positive spin.  Shock. Loss. Denial. Bargaining. And then of course acceptance.

I, of course, drew process maps for the doctors (to improve the provision of information), facilitated complex decision making, researched alternative options and managed the family stakeholders. Celebrated milestones in a minor way. Because that’s what I do. And I worked the whiteboard.

 

But how did I feel when faced with the change. Pretty ordinary. When faced with significant change over which I have very little control I bunkered down to doing what had to be done. No overextending myself, no strategic visioning, no entrepreneurial pursuits, limited communication (comparatively).

And so to answer Vicki’s question – What did I learn from my reactions?

When bringing in large scale transformative change that will incur loss and often emotional resistance:

  • Tell it as it is – don’t spin
  • Validate the emotions
  • Repeat the information and provide additional sources where possible
  • Keep the door open for questions.
  • Don’t expect high performance for some time

For now, we’re holding steady, and I have accepted that I can’t plan or control my family’s future. It’s one day at a time, and will be until such a time some-body tells us otherwise.  I can plan and “control” the rhythm of change nuggets series and my blogging, and my intent is this shall resume on a fortnightly basis.

A huge thank you to the clients, colleagues  and friends who have been so wonderfully understanding and supportive during this time.

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