Here in Atlanta, we are in that weather-confused time of year: cold (for Atlanta anyway), warm, gray, sunny, windy, not. Many of my friends and colleagues express they are hibernating, going home instead of meeting friends, curling up with a good book, and going to bed earlier than they would like to admit. They showed the same behaviors in January, but now they are talking about it more because, well, I think because they are beginning to move out of this cycle of rest and into a time of change. We’re just a few days away from March, with all the promise of Spring and a fair amount of tumultuous wind and weather to get there.
Business activities often reflect our personal cycles, and you are probably in the winds of change at work as well. For the last 18 months we have been hearing that folks like us were dissatisfied at work, and at the first breath of recovery we would see a massive amount of employee turnover as talent moved to better opportunities. These roles, one assumes, are being vacated by someone else who wasn’t happy.
The challenge for many dissatisfied employees is that the economic recovery isn’t quite stable enough to justify making a move. So, while we talk about moving, we don’t. Meanwhile, the challenge is to create “climate” change within ourselves, so we stay engaged-in our careers and in our jobs-rather than continue to hibernate and become disillusioned.
4 Phases of Change
One of the standard change models demonstrates 4 Phases of Change.
The first step is denial, as in; “Oh, that rattling sound in my car doesn’t mean anything.”. This is the step where we don’t listen, and we don’t look at the business results in ways that relate directly to us, and we think the boss is just having a bad day. In other words, we minimize our understanding of risk.
The second step is resistance. This is the blame step. We argue and we push back. We believe that the organizational change won’t impact us; we tell people that our new boss won’t make us do anything different. Likewise, we dig in our heels, and are passive-aggressive.
(Pause here because I am betting you can picture at least one situation right now where you are demonstrating this behavior. It isn’t pretty, and it doesn’t promote your career.)
If we are lucky, we find ourselves choosing to look at new situations, new behaviors, and new opportunities where we might engage. This third cycle of change is the most Spring-like. We have good days and bad days. We wake up energized, but then our mood changes. Likewise, we set a goal, but we don’t do the work – for good reasons or bad. We are frustrated, confused, and sometimes discouraged. But if we can convince ourselves that we can’t go back, even when we don’t know how to go forward, we will begin to see what the options really are. That is a good thing.
My wish for you is that this Spring, you will commit to explore long enough, to stay frustrated with yourself, with others, with your circumstances, and with your confusion long enough to see very real and engaging possibilities. It’s hard work. Most people don’t do it. But you can, and I hope you will.
Because once you do, you will land in the fourth phase of change – commitment. That’s the place where goals become refined, work gets done, new teams are formed, and you feel energized. It’s a place to celebrate…but not for too long, of course because that next change is always coming.
This kind of sums it all up!
We always enjoy hearing your comments and your stories.
Reach out to us any time! Until next time…