Understanding change allows you to be flexible enough to adapt and thrive in the face of it. By learning how different people approach and respond to change, you can develop your own strategies for successfully managing it.
For example, many individuals are in a constant state of change in the course of their daily lives. These changes go unnoticed, as they are minor adaptations that help individuals cope with the demands of life. However, large-scale changes are a different matter. They are what change management is all about. Changes like starting a new job, moving to a new house, or transforming an organization require major adaptations and can be quite disruptive.
When these changes occur, a lot can go wrong. For example, the plans that were made to manage the change may not work out exactly as intended. It is important to have a plan in place for dealing with unforeseen events. Keeping the lines of communication open before, during and after the change is a key component to success. Educating all stakeholders on why the change is taking place will also be helpful. This will prevent rumors from spreading and will help to stop negativity in its tracks. In addition, being able to modify or update the current plan will make for a more seamless transition.
There is no one right way to approach and understand change. Nevertheless, some approaches have proven more successful than others. One popular model is the Kubler-Ross model of change, which focuses on stages that people go through during a change process. It is important to know that the process of changing can be a long and winding road, full of ups and downs, forward and backward steps, motivational waxing and waning. Psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente developed a well-accepted five-stage model of change that can be used to identify where someone is in the process of changing and to help them move through it more quickly.
Another useful tool in understanding change is systems theory, which focuses on the relationships between different parts of a system. It can be used to discover what is driving a particular problem and to find out what the most effective solution might be. For instance, using causal loop diagramming can be a great way to get to the bottom of a problem and identify key leverage points (Lane, 2008).
Finally, it is crucial to consider the influence that external forces may have on a given situation. This is particularly true if the change you are trying to initiate is outside of your control. A good way to do this is by mapping the system or systems that are involved. This will help you to discover influences, potential blockages and other key issues that need to be addressed.
The most successful managers of change use a combination of tools and theories to ensure that the change is successful. Using these methods allows them to be more flexible and respond to the unique challenges that they are facing.