Is change really a struggle??

Who wants another model of change? We need it like another hole in the head. They are all pretty much the same. However, in her book “Next! The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work” Joanne Lipman discusses four stages people go through during personal transformation:

  1. Search – When you are gathering information to understand what is happening and what the goal is. You may be reaching out to others to understand their experience.
  2. Struggle – The first step is taken, whether mentally or physically, toward a new reality and a new identity. Often we wrestle with what to do to be successful. There is a foot in two worlds.
  3. Stop – To adopt new behaviors and ways of thinking, we need to stop something we used to do. This is a critical transition point.
  4. Solution – And now we have it figured out – a new way of being. This is where reinvention has occurred. 

Isn’t that perfect? It resonates with our personal experience. Now let me tell you why it’s wrong for our work as change leaders.

  • If we’ve done our work correctly as change leaders, there is no need to search. The goal is laid out plainly with sufficient detail conveyed in an engaging narrative. Most people will get it and buy in. We begin with the solution.
  • Struggle is minimized when we equip our managers to coach. Learning something new is a joy when you are fully supported and have a partner to help you through. We can create that experience.
  • Stop – This one works. The best change makes it clear what behaviors need to be turned off in order to fully embrace what is new.
  • So let’s end with celebration instead of solution. We could all use a party these days.

We excel as leaders when we give new ideas a reality check. Telling people that change will be a struggle is not healthy. We are built to address change and adapt. We’re good at it. The transition may involve some pain, but get them started with optimism. Change is good.

Thoughtfully yours, 
Jeff Skipper

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