Have you ever had the realization that things need to change? Maybe you realized this after you lost a client or had your best employee give their notice. Whether it’s in your work life or personal life, we’ve all been there. It’s a time that can be both exciting because of new opportunities, yet terrifying due to the overwhelming uncertainty of what’s ahead.
In a business situation, making changes is particularly difficult because you aren’t the only stakeholder. You often have your employees and clients waiting to see how you handle what has become a messy situation. From my experience, you will go through different stages when dealing with change. Understanding these phases will not only increase the likelihood that change will ensue success, but also relieve the feelings of fear we all experience when change is on the horizon.
- Uncertainty – This is when you realize that something isn’t right, but you don’t know what it is. It hasn’t quite hit you that you need to make changes and you feel confused as to what the next step is.
- Realization – You’ve now realized that change is necessary and you’re busy strategizing how to go about it. You aren’t sure how you’ll get there, but you know that you’re definitely moving forward. You still feel uneasy, yet you’re starting to adapt to this challenging period in your life.
- Certainty – You’re certain of what changes need to be made and have determined step one, but are uncertain of what the whole process will look like. At this stage you will be busy figuring out logistics until your vision of what you want to accomplish becomes completely clear.
- Action – While you’re still anxious about making changes, you’ve decided to focus your energy on taking action. Your plan of attack has been determined and you’re ready to lead your team through the process of change. You’ve learned how to manage being uncomfortable and are prepared to encourage your team throughout the implementation of the process.
What are you experiences with the four stages of change? Share your experience below.