We woke up on the morning of June 23rd to the news that the British electorate had voted to leave the European Union. Some people celebrated and others went into despair. The pound crashed, parliament went into disarray and society started to turn on each other, with fractures and divisions developing in our usually tolerant, cosmopolitan and integrated society. Fear and panic set in and as emotions ran high people began acting irrationally.
Whatever your political view and your thoughts of the result, no one really knows what happens now. I have some concern of what the future holds like many of us, however I am also optimistic. Change can be tough, however it can also be a catalyst to a better future.
So, the message is not to panic. In a time of change and uncertainty, it’s crucial to direct the focus on managing that change and support those who may be affected by it – whether that change is in society or within your organisation.
The Kuebler-Ross Change Curve can be effectively used by any leader to help their people adapt to change and move towards success. This is very relevant to a society that is going through a period of great change.
How is this relevant to society or to your organisation?
Let’s understand this by dividing it into the 5 stages of the Kuebler-Ross Model, which cut across the different phases shown above:
Stage 1 – People may be in shock or denial and may not be able to digest the fact that change is underway and there will be a need to adapt. This stage may require time to adjust, so communication is key. Employers, managers and leaders must make it a point to not overwhelm people with too much information in one go – gradual two way communication is far more effective.
Stage 2 – When reality sets in, fear or panic about the future may set in, which can manifest itself in anger and resentment. This is the stage that needs to be managed most sensibly as it can create chaos. Clear communication and support should be the main focus at this level.
Stage 3 – When people begin to understand the change, the adaptation process begins. During this stage, it is the employer’s role to ensure that everyone receives the relevant training so that the change be implemented successfully. This stage cannot be rushed and it may take some time to get it right.
Stage 4 – This is the stage where everyone is learning the best way to adapt and this may not always be the happiest or comfortable time for people as their comfort zones are being challenged. This can result in low energy, morale and excitement and therefore the training process has to be as engaging and exciting as possible.
Stage 5 – People finally begin to embrace and accept the change whilst starting to build new aims and hopes. If people/employees have been engaged effectively up until this stage, improvements will begin to show and productivity will resume.
In Britain, as a society we find ourselves at Stage 1/2 of the change model. It is essential to understand that we do not move along the stages in a linear direction or step by step. People tend to move from one stage to another in a random order, skip stages and even return to some stages. Every organisation, including our government, has the responsibility to support their people in the process of transition and change. The easier it is for people to move along on their journey, the easier it will be for an organisation to move towards success.
There are three key steps to success:
1) Strong Leadership – leaders that are willing to utilise the 7 Es principles of:
ENGAGING your audience with good clear communication,
EXEMPLIFYING the standards they wish for us to follow,
Being EMPATHETIC to the needs of your people,
ENCOURAGING your people positively through the change process,
EMPOWERING/ENABLING people to take action and step up to be a part of the change process rather than victims of it,
EMBEDDING the new values and culture we wish to embrace, and
EVALUATING the success of the strategies that have been utilised.
The Stress Management Society exist to provide both individuals and corporations in any way they can to navigate this turbulent time of uncertainty. Feel free to get in touch with them should you have any questions or wish to discuss any of the points raised in this message.