Change management has a conjunction to help us function. What side of the conjunction we occupy is crucial for our success. When a major change event happens in a person’s life, two distinct territories often become revealed, the old territory or season that existed prior to the change and the new, less chartered territory that now lies ahead. And these two territories can be separated by a conjunction.
As an example of a major change, let’s consider a corporate buy-out. Prior to the acquisition, life as usual is in full swing. Then the corporate buy-out happens and so much either gets changed or is about to change. Yes, we have an old season up against a new season. Should a person automatically shift into new season mode without looking back? Change management theory over the years has shown us that it is most natural to take a moment before moving forward in order to authentically move forward. An old season is dying as a new season is being born and if the change is meaningful, a period of adjustment often is needed.
I am the last person to offer change management platitudes to people who are in the midst of major change. Comments like, “C’mon be a change champion, not a change casualty” or “Don’t you worry, you’ll be just fine” or “You need to embrace the change” seem too superficial to be uttered with any modicum of credibility. Although there is some truth in some of the platitudinal comments, they somehow seem dismissive, as if some quick verbal fix is going to make it all better. Of course there is this conjunction, “but”…
Adult rules suggest that we all have a choice when we are in meaningful change situations. It may appear that we have very little choice, but that’s usually untrue. How we choose to frame a major change has everything to do with our ability to move forward successfully. Consider this statement, “My company has just been acquired AND I’m completely lost, upset and fearful”. That may be the truth, but individuals do have the choice to reframe their thinking.
Now let’s consider, “My company has just been acquired BUT I am focused on future possibilities and ways to make this a great change for me and others”. The choice of dwelling places is up to the individual. On which side of the conjunction one fixes their gaze is an indicator of how they are navigating the change. An old maxim states that, “whatever a person focuses on increases”. Old season or new?
I am thankful for you (in all seasons)! Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving holiday.
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