Just over a year ago, I wrote about the relevance of The Change Curve model to how people were feeling about working from home. As we have now started our release from lockdown, the Change Curve is once again a relevant and helpful management tool for supporting people to transition out of the state we have been in for the past year. I choose my words carefully here when I say transition out. I believe passionately that before we can start having meaningful conversations about the kind of workplace we want for the future, we must firstly work through what we are leaving behind and acknowledge the concerns, perhaps also fears, that we have about the next few months. The reluctance to let go, combined with fears about what next is clouding judgement and perspective about how things should work in the future. Decisions being taken now that fail to take this into account, may end up as wrong, or not the best decisions to have made.
One of the great lessons of the Change Curve is around the notion that we firstly reject the change and refuse to adapt. We need a grieving process to help us work through this. We then naturally come out of this state but often reject the change that is required of us, finding reasons why it is inappropriate. The management task is to move us through these stages as quickly as possible to the third stage, which is where we start to make sense of the change, work it through, and make it our own. It becomes the new state.
Managers, at this stage, need to put time and effort into listening to people’s experiences of the past year and to their concerns about back to work. Be aware also that many may not wish to confide in the manager who is also going to be making decisions about them. This could well be the time for arranging internal mentoring.
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©Janice Caplan 2020