Saturday, 23 November 2013

Friday 22nd November - 5 stages of change

Oh HeAVENS tO bETtSY. iT IS SO infuriating when I go to the trouble of writing a post and then don't click on PUBLISH. And what's up with capslock? Oh ok I see. Fixed. false Alarm (Saturday 23rd November)  

An unexpectedly serious post today ...

      Lord, give me coffee 
      to change the things 
      I can change, 
      and wine to accept 
      the things I can't.

And one of the bloggers I follow added "and whisky" to this cartoon!

If you have anything to do with Change Management in your working life, then you will be familiar with the following summary of the 5 phases that people faced with CHANGE go through;

1. Shock (Denial)

2. Emotion (Anger)

3. Bargaining (If I do this then I achieve that - a kind of personal horse-trading)

4. Grief at loss (It isn't fair)

5. Acceptance (in two parts; Intellectual AND Emotional)

By Change, I don't mean change that you have chosen - like an exciting job opportunity abroad, or new career direction, or having a baby. I mean Change that is forced upon you, without your consent, maybe even without any kind of warning.

These stages can be written in different ways, but that's what they basically boil down to. By change, I mean anything from a change in working practices (I've been through that), to being made redundant (I've been through that too) or the effects of serious illness (I face up to this every day).

And I can honestly say that the above 5 stages broadly represent what everyone facing Change has to deal with. All our family - the Offsprings, and Best Beloved - have had personal experience of Change, ranging from minor to catastrophic. Best Beloved's work over the past twenty years has been, in one way and another, one of Managing Change, and leading all kinds of people, some Very Senior, and some Very Junior, through these stages.  

I think that people these days have a greater understanding of the issues surrounding "life-changing events" than maybe was possible in the old traditional "stiff upper lip" era. These days, one can express one's feelings without being told to "Pull yourself together" and "Exercise Self-Control". The advantage is that one can progress through these stages with  more awareness of what is happening to yourself.

Most people get caught in one or other of these stages for a period of months, even years. Some people manage to recognise what is going on, and move through more quickly - it's still a struggle. There is no panacea, no magic pill, to get you through the process of accepting the consequences, emotional and intellectual, of The Change.

Arriving at "Acceptance" isn't the same as "giving up", or "giving in". It means arriving at the stage where you are able to work with what you have, rather than constantly fighting to restore the un-restorable.

Living and moving and working through Change is exhausting. It isn't a fun or nice or welcome experience. It is debilitating. It isn't easy. But it is a consequence of being alive, of being human, of having feelings.

The past year, living through the aftershocks of my mother's stroke have been like a copy-book exercise in Change Management for every member of the family.

Meanwhile, could you just pour me another glass of wine? (I don't care for whisky).

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