I’ve just completed a wonderful stay with the team at Berkshire Properties in sunny Palm Coast, Florida. While it’s always a treat to work with teams interested in becoming better agents of change, there is something truly special about working with a team directly in the midst of it.
Change is hard. There is no way around it — change turns our world upside down. But that is not to say that change is bad. Change is what it is — neither good nor bad — and only takes on identity by way of our approach to it. We’re in a habit of framing change as a negative. Our number one objective when approaching a significant change? We need to change that habit.
In our session together we reviewed the cycle of change. Janssen’s “Four Room” model is a terrific map for our process of adaptation in the face of difficult change projects for two reasons.
- It allows us to see how we naturally move from out stage of acceptance to another, from Contentment, to Renewal, to Denial, to Confusion, then back again, and not always in order.
- It allows us to understand where we are in our acceptance and adaptation to change and — more importantly — to know where we have ability and responsibility to support others on our teams.
As leaders, recognize that you’re allowed to adjust to change yourselves, to move through the process naturally and honestly. However, your public face is to celebrate the renewal of change to come, while denial you confront in private.
Your teams will be confused. Celebrate that, too. If the people around you are confused it means they are working hard to engage in the change that is occurring around them. They’ll be struggling to hold positive and negative emotions in their heads at the same time; you are the mover of rocks and the carrier of water for your teams, constantly reframing each challenge as yet unrealized opportunity.
For those who have asked for the link, here’s a wonderful video I presented at the conference, “Not about the Nail.” It captures what may be the most critical component of any change project: there’s always room to laugh.