Explore the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross graph showing how people go through denial and fear into the trough, but then with acceptance come back up the other side and end up better than before. Learn how the trough is normal and see across the gap to the higher ground on the far side. Explore strategies for getting through the dip: Get maximum information and have a plan for getting to the other side.
- Have a look at this diagram. This is the famous Change Curve, originally developed in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process, but now applied to any change. You can see that basically you have to go into the trough of despair before you can emerge out the other side in a new and better world. Initially, we resist going into the trough. We deny that there is change at all or we deny that it's necessary. Maybe won't happen after all. And then, we come to terms with it and face up to learning about the new ways of doing things.
Unhappy to start with, but then we start to like some parts of it and eventually we've accepted it and it's become natural again. All that pain and suffering and elapsed time and probably money, just to emerge slightly better off on the far side. That's the reality of making change happen if you're a manager. So, for the people going through it, whether it's getting a new boss or your department or company being restructured or even being laid off from your job, the first thing is to realize that it's natural.
Everyone has these feelings. Nobody likes to lose their old world in order to get a new world that will be slightly better. In fact, they fear that it won't really be better or it'll be better for some people, but not for them. And this is natural. You're not the only one going through it. Next is to focus on the far side. Look, it's going to be great when you get there. It's going to be worth going through the trough because it's going to be better once you get to the other side. And if you have a boss who is unfortunately not explaining this to you, then do it yourself.
Find out about the benefits of the change and focus on them yourself. Tell yourself that it's going to be worth the short term hassle rather than just choosing to wallow in the middle of the trough as a victim or depressed and negative. After all, it'll only be you who suffers if you try to resist. Third is to have a plan for how you'll get to the other side. Having a plan makes you feel much better, much less insecure. And again, if your boss is making the mistake of not helping you with a plan, not showing you a plan, then make your own plan for how you'll get there.
Fourth is to tell yourself that this process of going through the trough in order to improve is actually good for you. It may not feel like it, but you're growing and learning and if you never go through it, if you keep managing to avoid it, you get stuck in a deeper and deeper rut. And when eventually change catches up with you, then you'll really hate it. So maybe it's better to be a person who is constantly doing new things, who is used to change, who knows how to do it. I know this sounds easier said than done, but stick with me here. I'll give you some great examples later.
But before we get to that, maybe you can think about your own attitude to change. Do you hate going into that trough or do you look at the other side and think, this is exciting. This is going to be worth doing. Can you get better at focusing on the far side, thinking about how good it'll be once you're there, and then making plans for how to get there, rather than expending lots of mental energy just worrying about what might happen? Could you even volunteer for changes, so that you could keep in practice and become a change welcomer, rather than a change resistor.
- Why we dislike change
- Planning for change
- Developing mental toughness
- Maximizing your interpersonal skills
- Setting long-term career goals
- Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
- What to consider if you're thinking of leaving your job
- Building up your network
- How to be low maintenance employee
- Establishing goals and plans with a new boss
- How to deal with a bad boss