Change is a six letter havoc wreaking word! The very sound of it freaks most people out, and ‘doing’ Change well is notoriously hard!
Why do we find Change so hard?
Because your brain is simply wired to scan for threat! David Rock’s now well – known research highlighted how the brain organizes things using a basic Reward or Threat principle. It also regards social threat as the same as physical threat – and demands a huge amount of mental resource to constantly deal with these threats.
Leaders everywhere need to understand the social cues, situations, challenges that trigger a Threat in someone else. And Change is one of them!
Change is not a logical, rational experience. It’s deeply felt. People feel their way through change, and their emotions either energize them to embrace what’s happening to them (and around them to others) or to resist with every cell of their body (which shows up as shutting down, withdrawing, fighting back, becoming defensive…the list goes on…)!
Change can show up in our lives in so many different ways:
- Navigating a difficult client
- Leading your team through a change journey
- Experiencing a merger
- Understanding and navigating through relentless restructuring
- Performance Managing a difficult employee
- Moving to flexible working arrangements
- Coming back from parental leave
- Adjusting to a new political environment
- Adjusting to new leadership
- Trialing automation in your organization
- Experiencing Digital transformation
- Implementing new systems
- Reforming products and services to meet unexpected market forces
The words that stand out to me are navigating, leading, moving, adjusting, trialing, experiencing, implementing and reforming. They’re all verbs, and imply ‘doing’ something different to keep moving forward and reach a new position.
The Six Seconds’ Change MAP is such a simple, powerful representation of the emotions you’re likely to be feeling at the different phases of Change – as you anticipate it, experience it and reflect on what it was like.
With excitement, courage and curiosity, we energize for momentum and a willingness to keep moving forward with optimism and learning mindset – we may not have any idea of what the outcome will look and feel like, but we’re up for giving it a go!
All too often, it’s frustration, fear and judgement (blame) that hooks us into resisting being open to the uncertainty of Change. So what can you do?
Change is the new normal and uncertainty inevitable. Life is moving too fast for you to luxuriate in any comfortable status quo – it demands that you grow your Change Readiness (your capacity to navigate and lead yourself and others well through uncertainty).
Growing your Change Readiness means growing your Emotional Intelligence along with a deeper understanding of the impact of Change, and in the words of Joshua Freedman, being ‘smarter with your feelings’.
Learn how to activate those verbs and channel yours and others’ frustration into excitement, fear into courage and judgement into more curiosity.
A great start is to take the new Emotional Intelligence report, SEI LTC (survey of emotional intelligence – leading through change).