It used to be that I thought there were only five stages that we all went through when faced with change. These stages were similar to the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
John Fisher conducted research on the early 2000s and discovered that there can be up to 12 stages in the change process;
1. Anxiety - We feel a lack of control, of uncertainty, and a bit of fear. This is because the change is new and our brain dislikes the unknown.
2. Happiness - Believe it or not, for some of us our brain likes change. Change can be exciting, a relief that someone is doing something, an opportunity for progression.
3. Denial - Those who dislike change will ignore what is going on around them. "I've seen it before, it works in cycles" they will say.
4. Fear - A sudden realisation that things will be different and we don't know what it is or how it will impact on us.
5. Threat - Our choices have suddenly become limited, old ways are no longer available so “How will I cope?”
6. Anger - Not anger at the change but anger at themselves for not doing more in their work so that change wouldn't be required.
7. Guilt - Linked to anger, people may feel a sense of blame as they believe the change arose because of them.
8. Disillusionment - Some will feel this if they the change conflicts with their personal practices and beliefs.
9. Depression - Confusion, a lack of drive, and a reluctance to change leads to negative thoughts.
10. Hostility - Some will dig their toes in with the hope that the change won't go ahead if they keep resisting it.
11. Gradual acceptance - It is not immediate, eventually people will accept change once they know that it is inevitable.
12. Moving forward - Things seem more positive as people get to understand the change.
So how does this help you in managing change? Three things to remember;
1. Each of us reacts differently so you will need to take a holistic approach when introducing change. Try different things at different times (As Mr Google how).
2. Communicate to staff early using the four Ws & the H - what, when, where, why & how.
3. Get everyone involved. You know where you are and where you want to be, get your staff to show you how to get there. Change comes from the bottom up, not the top down.