Event Date: 10/21/2019 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
To thrive in an environment that’s filled with constant change, it’s important to understand how to harness people’s adaptability to move through disruption and regain resilience with change training. Learn how getting ahead of changes results in an organizational culture that can embrace change—fueled by empowered leadership and employees who feel valued and secure. Helping individuals and teams to recognize the predictable path of transitioning through change can foster innovation and improve business agility.
Join subject matter expert and author Dr. Cynthia Scott, the pioneer of the Transition Curve, for an informative webinar that will help you to understand what happens to individuals, teams, and organizations when a change occurs. You will also learn how to lead in a way that minimizes disruption and increases resilience.
This webinar is sponsored by HRDQ and is based upon research from Mastering the Change Curve, an easy and effective change management assessment guide for bringing issues to the surface, providing a framework for healthy growth, and empowering individuals to shift their focus from the past to the future – without stalling or spinning their wheels. Learn more about Mastering the Change Curve at HRDQ.
Participants will learn:
- How the human brain responds to change
- Five different ways to reduce threat and increase resilience
- How to identify a predictable path of responding to change
- How to lead teams from resistance to performance
Who Should Attend:
- A training or HR professional who delivers training.
- An independent training consultant.
- A manager who delivers or purchases training as part of their role.
Presented By: Dr. Cynthia Scott
A founding principal of Changeworks Global, Dr. Cynthia Scott is a recognized author and leader with over 20 years of experience. She is the author of numerous books, including Rekindling Commitment and Take This Work and Love It!. Dr. Scott’s clients include Blue Shield of California, Benjamin Moore, Charles Schwab, Kaiser Permanente, AT&T, the Internal Revenue Service, Deloitte & Touché, Estee Lauder, and National Semiconductor.
Sara Lindmont: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar, How To Thrive Through Change, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Dr. Cynthia Scott. My name is Sara and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last about an hour and if you have any questions, you can go ahead and type them into the questions area on your GoToWebinar control panel and then we’ll either answer them as they come in if we have time at the end of the session live, but definitely after the session by email, we’ll respond to all questions. Go ahead and please use that questions area on your GoToWebinar control panel. You type right in that box and hit submit, that’ll come right through to us.
Sara Lindmont: Our presenter today is Dr. Cynthia Scott, a founding principle of ChangeWorks Global. Cynthia is a recognized author and leader with over 20 years of experience. She is the author of numerous books including the Mastering the Change Curve Workshop, Leadership for Sustainability and Change, Getting Your Organization to Change, Rekindling Commitment, and Take This Job and Love it. She’s been featured in several publications as well, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Stanford Business School newsletter, and Worthwhile Magazine. Please give a warm welcome to Cynthia.
Cynthia Scott: It’s very nice to be here with you today. I’m looking forward to sharing with you what I’ve learned about working with leaders and organizations to be both resilient and capable as they go through these kinds of changes, and I put up a list of the kinds of changes that I’ve actually worked on and my guess is that some of you are involved in these right now, whether it be changing your culture, finding your culture, revitalizing your culture, having a new leader, going through some kind of reorganization, being able to increase innovation in your organization, switching strategies, having to enter a new field, dealing with fast grow, or behavior change, whether it be an individual or team level, and with organizations going through global transformation, having to deal with …
Cynthia Scott: Let’s see, please close any … Oh, you’re talking to me? I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I’m really happy to be here with you today and this session really draws on my background as an anthropologist and psychologist, and brings you a synthesis of tips and tools and understandings that I’ve developed over these many years. What I’d like you to begin with and I want you to begin … I’m going to begin with you in a way that I begin many of my sessions, is I want you to take out a pen and I want you to draw a quick sketch of a change that you are currently experiencing and don’t fret, that’s not about artistic capability. It’s really about anything that describes what you’re experiencing right now and it could be a personal change or an organizational change.
Cynthia Scott: This is not the essay exam, so I was going to give you 30 more seconds to just draw anything, and I’ll tell you why I’m doing this in just a minute. Because doing this, drawing this picture of change gives you an idea of how you are experiencing the change and to set us up for a seminar that we’re doing today is we’re going to be looking at what is happening inside the people that you’re working with, and drawing a picture is the fastest way that I can get that pulse out. I’ve done this with 300 people at a time in a cafeteria and what happens is people draw all kinds of things, and it’s less about what they draw but it’s more that they engage in starting to think about the disruption, the fear, the excitement, the experience they’re having with the change.
Cynthia Scott: Couple of my favorite drawings have been one doctor who actually just got up and very formally drew a baseball diamond and he began to give a very clear presentation of what first base, second base, third base, fourth base looks like, so that was the simplicity of having a very simple picture that he could talk to over and over again. I’ve also worked with people who drew very horrible pictures, like there was a steamroller being rolled over them or this is me in the blender and my boss is pushing the pulse button. This happened when people were really experiencing very dramatic change. What this does is give you a quick snapshot and if you’re working with a group of people, you can ask them to put all of the pictures up on the wall, you can say what patterns do they see.
Cynthia Scott: It’s a quick way of engaging people because everyone has a different experience. As we look at the way that you experience change, it actually engages your brain in a very different way than asking how are you, and what we’re going to do is have this be a way of approaching the toolkit that we designed for HRDQ-U, which helps individuals and teams both navigate and move through the change process. The things in this seminar are from the toolkit and we’ll be going through some of them, but not all of them and Sara will be giving you more information at the end, but I just wanted to highlight that this is one of the ways that we start mastering the change curve toolkit.
Cynthia Scott: Today what we’re going to do is we’re going to start inside the brain because everybody has a brain and change affects how people experience things, and so the brain is the center of that. The second thing we’re going to do is we’re going to look at reducing threat because change is threatening and increasing resilience in response to the threat will be important. The third thing we’re going to do is help you identify a map of the process, a predictable path that you can use to interact with individuals, teams or whole organizations or communities. The fourth thing we’re going to do is help you understand how to lead and help others navigate through this process. Let’s get started and the first part is going to be understanding how the human brain responds to change.
Cynthia Scott: Imagine that you are asking people to do all three of these things and this is an actual experience that I’ve had of a change that they had to move to a new location, switch their boss and leader, and oh by the way, the kind of work that you’re doing. The turbulence of the change that people experienced is at a heightened level. Imagine that I said this to you and what I’d like you to do is click for a moment, notice the thoughts, the feelings, the body sensations that arose when I said that. We go back to the experience of excitement, maybe you’re really ready for a change and this sounds very exotic and interesting. Maybe you were really attached to your old leader and this is some loss and maybe your stomach just goes I don’t think I could do this or let’s go.
Cynthia Scott: Basically your thoughts, feelings, and actions are responding to the outside messages about change. Let’s look at the brain and I know a number of you know lots about the brain, and I’m going to make this very simple. Basically there’s three parts of the brain and the first part is that hardwired brainstem things, the things that you don’t have to think about, but you are doing all the time like you are unconsciously breathing. You don’t have to say to yourself breathe in, breathe out, breathe in. You don’t have to say pick up right foot, pick up left foot. You don’t have to tell yourself to jump away from a car coming towards you, so that’s the part of the brain that is really very old and you can’t change very much, it’s hardwired into.
Cynthia Scott: The second part of the brain is this limbic system in the middle of the brain that really tracks feelings and helps you move away or from, helps you make decisions, helps you understand what memories you had. If you are feeling fear of a dog, it’s probably because you had some experience with a dog. Your limbic brain remembers that. The third area is your prefrontal cortex and that’s the part that really is about thinking patterns, logic, higher-level making sense of things. The reason we’re talking about the brain is because when you are experiencing change and imagine that you’re having 200 people that you’re talking about change, you’ve got their three parts of their brain being engaged. Let’s look at an easy way to think about this and help you as change agents.
Cynthia Scott: A simple way to think about this is our brain is really good at avoiding the sticks, the kinds of challenges or things that threaten and hurt us and it really is hardwired to seek these carrots. Sticks are any kind of hazard, any kind of social aggression. It can be physical, it can be emotional. It doesn’t have to be a physical stick. It can be a social threat and we’ll talk more about that because most of the changes that we’re experiencing now are about social threat. No big dinosaurs are chasing us. Carrots are the kinds of things that our brain is really set up to recognize food, sex, shelter, social support, pleasure, all those kinds of things that we go towards both physical and emotional.
Cynthia Scott: The way our brain understands them is sticks are usually very urgent, while carrots you can have a longer approach to. Basically if you fail to avoid the sticks today, there are no carrots tomorrow. Your whole brain is really good at getting away from threat and getting away from things that challenge it. How do we deal with that with change? Let’s look at understanding the lizard part of your brain and that’s my talk for the middle part of your brain, your feelings, your things that are hardwired and you go too quickly. Just as a lizard with its little claws and tail moves around, it has a very small prefrontal cortex, but it’s really got a big limbic system to help it stay alive.
Cynthia Scott: I want to help you think about this with the people that you’re working with, the teams and groups and possibly even yourself. Let’s understand the lizard part of your brain and how you can use that understanding to help you navigate through change. Basically the lizard is very fast. That part of your brain makes decisions in one 20th of a second so you’re not really aware and it’s moving very quickly and it makes them biologically. It makes these decisions are unconscious, so we don’t realize that all of a sudden we’re feeling threatened and most cases the lizard brain reaches a conclusion faster than the prefrontal cortex, which then catches up with the logic.
Cynthia Scott: In some ways when you’re announcing change, you think of you’re announcing it to the lizard part of the brain because that’s the part of the brain no matter how fancy your slides are and logical your process, basically you’re communicating to the lizard part of everyone else’s brain. Let’s look at and basically the lizard brain hates change because what that does is it focuses attention on things that take energy and take resources if you look at the levels of glucose or the time, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to figure this new thing out.” Basically the chicken crosses the road because her lizard brain told her to and that’s what’s going to happen in the change.
Cynthia Scott: You’re going to get the first fast lizard reaction and then having to calm the lizard down to get people to enter the more reasonable logical help them, find their way through. The other thing about the lizard is it doesn’t go away and our job is to really figure out how to help it become quiet again. The next part of this is you can’t pretend that the lizard hasn’t been aroused. The kinds of things you say to people that precipitate change and the experience that you have in dealing with change, whether it be at a personal level, whether it be at a team level because once it’s aroused, trying to pretend it isn’t it takes a lot more energy. One things we’re going to do here is help you understand some ways to reduce threat and increased resilience and help the lizard calm down again.
Cynthia Scott: What happens is let’s look at … Because as I said most of our threat is not physical, we’re not being chased by dinosaurs, but we are installing new systems and we are asking people to learn new programs and we’re asking people to shift what they do and to take up a new role or function with a new team that they’ve never met before. All those things set off the lizard, but those are not physical threats, those are social threats and basically the social threat is stronger than the physical threat. Therefore, I don’t know that we can actually avoid waking up the lizard, but what we can do is we can comfort it after it’s been awakened.
Cynthia Scott: That’s one of the real messages in this session is that I want to help you understand how to soothe the lizard part of the brain and how to become more skillful with doing that. What I want to do is give you a model and this model is from David Rock who has done a brilliant job of really doing neuroscience and applying it to business. In his model, he basically has identified five different things that create social threat and what social threat is is it’s the part of you that wants to move away from the threat gets bigger and the part that wants to move towards the opportunity gets less. What you’re dealing with here is that red part is how do you comfort or help people deal with the threats to status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness.
Cynthia Scott: Basically let me unpack this for you just a little bit. Status is how do you see yourself in the world, how do people refer to you, what is your title, what’s at the bottom of your email, what kind of desk do you have, what kind of cubicle, how are you seen in the community. Certainty has to do with your ability to predict and know that if I do this, this will happen, what happens when you change the reward system, you move the performance metrics, you change the KPIs. Autonomy has to do with ability to make choices and say how do I do the work or what range of tasks are within my control. Relatedness has to do with the people and the relationships, who do you eat lunch with, who are your colleagues, who do you work with at a basic level.
Cynthia Scott: Fairness is did it seem fair, did it seem like everyone was treated equally, and not every change is going to be fair in the way that … It’s not always equal. Fairness can be created when it’s not equal because not every change is equal. Let’s look at this and let’s look at how this applies to you as a change leader understanding first what part of the social threat are people experiencing, and then we’re going to talk about how do you buffer that threat, how can you help people calm down their lizard long enough to move in and through the change process. Let’s use this model and this is called the SCARF model. It’s an easy way to remember it and basically here’s a couple things about it. Oftentimes you can’t change what’s actually happening to people.
Cynthia Scott: You may not have the certainty, you may not have the opportunity to make it be equal to everyone, but you can make it fair by telling people about what you’re going to do. There’s this relationship to when you threaten one area, you can balance it out or buffer it with another area. If several of these SCARF areas are happening at the same time, you could have a lot of lizard going on with people and again because we’ve understood that the lizard is fast and it’s deeply in the brain, it’s going to react. For example, I’ve been with an organization that just do this huge acquisitions and said now english is going to be our global language and just look at that.
Cynthia Scott: I mean it changes the status of either people who speak or don’t speak english, the certainty of how are we going to be able to conduct business in this new language, the autonomy because you didn’t ask me, you said it and now I have to relate. If you’re speaking a second language, your sense of connectivity is different, your fluency is different, and the fairness part is who said this and why are we having to do this. What I want to do is help you understand some of these buffering things you can do and I’m going to draw from three current projects that I’m working on. One is a fast growth company that’s really a start-up and it’s like they were fine with their status when it was the core founding group, but now they’ve added 15 employees, and that’s really changed how the founders think.
Cynthia Scott: The second group I’m going to talk about is a global transformation of a culture and it’s a global company that has to be able to shift its US culture to match a global culture. For them, the status, they have new bosses and they’re in France now in a whole different … Who used to relate to their sense of certainty has been a little SCARF because they would change their organization. What they used to be able to decide on in the US has been changed and the relationships, they now have these global relationships that they didn’t have to manage and so in some ways, the fairness has also been tweaked.
Cynthia Scott: The third one is a family business that’s going through … It’s actually a global family business going through leadership transition from first generation to second generation and that hits all of these things too because it’s about status. It’s like the first generation is moving out so the second group has to increase their responsibility and accountability. The certainty is less because they knew that this transition was coming. It’s easier in a family business because you can see the generations mature. The autonomy has to do with who gets to say what happens and for this one, they’re doing a lot of buffering with relationships.
Cynthia Scott: They’re having a lot of gatherings where the first and second generation talk about what they want. They’re holding new meetings to allow that kind of rituals to emerge and teams to reset themselves with new people. The way they also are doing the fairness is they’re talking about the decision making, that’s the whole thing of transparency of wanting people to understand when things are going to move and change. What I’ve done here is try to take three of my current clients and highlight some of the things that you can do to buffer.
Cynthia Scott: With the global transformation client, it’s like the person who is the new person from France came over and met with people in two sites in the US to really affirm their value, had one-on-ones with them, show people what the timelines are, don’t surprise them. If you’re going to set off the lizard, surprise really sets off the lizard and what are going to be the new measurements. With autonomy, you may not have a lot of choice, but give people choice of things that they can choose. In doing a plant closure years ago, it’s like the CEO asked do you want to go fast or slow and that really gave people … It doesn’t mean we’re not going to close the plant, but it gave people a sense of control and autonomy.
Cynthia Scott: This is an important thing of being able to understand the lizard brain, understand the social threat to the lizard brain and the four kinds of threat, and then you as a changed leader can begin to buffer those things or even call them out or use this as a way of understanding the kinds of complaints people have because with a large group, they’re going to have different levels of SCARF and different things will SCARF one group and will not SCARF another, so it just gives you a framework.
Cynthia Scott: The next thing I’m going to do is help you understand a predictable map for looking at people going through change and what we’re going to do is we’re going to use your own experience first because if you use yourself, you’ll remember it because it’s personal to you and you’ll never forget your own experience with change. Just like we did with the earlier exercise of drawing a picture, I’m going to ask you to take your pen and I’m going to ask you to think of a major change right now that you are experiencing. It can be either personal or professional, but I want you to think of a chain that you’ve already gone through and we need that so he can look back at what happened.
Cynthia Scott: Again, I mean let me restate, you will not share this with anybody so you can think of the real one and I want you to get one that’s vivid and that might have a few of the SCARF elements in it for you. I know a lot of you have been through lots of changes, so what I want to do is just invite you to choose one and get it clearly in your mind. What I’m going to do is ask you some questions about it and I’d like you to jot down some notes. Again, this is just like the drawing the picture, this is not essays. This is just words or pictures that describe where you were in the different parts of your navigating this change and let me start with asking you what was it like to be you, thoughts, feelings, actions before this change started, what was it like to be in your life.
Cynthia Scott: This could be a real old change or it could be one that you have just recently experienced, but go back and do the thoughts, feelings, and actions. Write a couple things down, what were you thinking about, feeling and doing before the change happened. Now I’d like you to fast forward in your remembering and go to that time when the change really started. For some of you, it was the change you wanted and for some of you, it was not the change you wanted. Take yourself to that time which was early in the change and what was it like to be you, what kinds of thoughts, feelings, actions were happening. I’d like you to remember and again, this is for you to choose when were you 51% of the way through because you can only know that by looking back often. It’s like over half way.
Cynthia Scott: When were you over half way through this change that you’re recalling and what kind of thoughts, feelings, and actions did you have at that time, what had shifted, what might have stayed the same, what was it like to be you when you were over halfway done with the change, and how did you were over halfway done. Now take yourself to remembering what it was like at the end of the change, what was it like, how did you know the change was done or paused, and what were your feelings, thoughts, actions when the change was completely done or the next change took over. I invite you too if you can remember or have any kind of sense of was there a sense of the next change that you were going to go into, did that begin to occur, emerge. It’s like when one change finishes, another one begins.
Cynthia Scott: This is the exercise, the process I was talking you through and it doesn’t matter whether you did it in boxes, but I’m just wanting to understand that you talked about you, you had some different thoughts, feelings, and actions all the way through. What we’re going to do now is ask you in a poll and Sara is going to come on because I’d like to know how many of you had a change that you initiated, that you remembered a change that you initiated, so that will be answer A and answer B will how many of you remembered a change that came from outside your control. Sara’s put up the poll and let me know because I want to help you understand the differences in those two ways of experiencing a change. I’ve got a lot of people …
Sara Lindmont: I can see …
Cynthia Scott: A lot of people on out there, so we’ll give you a chance to check either box A or B.
Sara Lindmont: Yes, and you click on those radio boxes and then go ahead and hit submit. I can see people are still putting in their answers. Okay, I think we captured everyone.
Cynthia Scott: Okay, so let’s see the results Sara. Okay, okay, so this is very interesting because we have people from around the world. We had about 600 people signed up for this and again, this is not research sample, but more of you dealt with and remembered a change that came from outside you, which is really good because your experience is different than the people who initiated the change and so having that foundational understanding, let me help you unpack how this understanding changes what you do because you basically makes a difference whether you are the SCARFer which is probably the A person initiating the change, whether you are the SCARFee, the person that got SCARFed by the change.
Cynthia Scott: Let’s unpack and help you understand the model that we developed over many years working with lots of different kinds of people and as a guide or a model, it doesn’t describe anyone’s specific change, but what it does do … Let’s see, trying to … What it does do is the transition curve provides a model understanding the navigation of the human side, and let me unpack this with you and talk about what we discovered. Again, with those two differences of more of you experience the change coming from the outside, I will talk about that and then I’ll imagine that the people who initiated the change are more like the leaders of the change. Again, you thought of personal changes, you thought of old changes, so let’s just give you some frameworks here.
Cynthia Scott: What we found was that people experienced change in four big buckets and if we were to ask you and a whole room of you of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that you experienced in the beginning of the change, some of you would have things like I was unaware, I didn’t even know anything was going on and some of you were aware and didn’t want to know or didn’t want to read the signals, so that’s the two kinds of … We called that denying. We’re adding an ing to each one of these because it’s really important that you understand that it’s in transition, you aren’t in denial and stuck there. You could be denying at 9:00 in the morning when you first hear it and then in the afternoon, you could be in the next phase and the next phase and the next phase.
Cynthia Scott: Think of each of these phases with an ing and one of the things that we found was that if you label people and said oh you’re in commitment rather than you’re committing it, it left people with having to then have another change to move out of commitment into the next part. Think of these as the broad framework of the change experience is whether you’re unaware or you don’t want to know, you’re in hardwired. Things are either working really well or for some of you, they are not working well and you wish they would change, but you don’t really want to deal with it yet so you’re denying. In that phase, you really focused on the environment.
Cynthia Scott: You’re focused on it outside and how things have always been and oftentimes, you find real remembering a lot about the past and and how good things have been or how things are about to move. The first phase in the denying is to look at people being their lizard is not awake yet or their lizard is just starting to wake up and look around. The second phase, and I’ll give you the broad range here and then we’ll go more deeply into it. The second phase is really resisting and feeling all of the experience of having your pattern broken. Your lizard is upset because you’re asking it to do different things and you’re asking people to change their patterns, you’re asking them to change who they eat lunch with, you’re asking them a new platform.
Cynthia Scott: We just moved from one platform to another with our online programs, it’s like enough. The third phase is really about beginning to see the future and back in the second phase, you really focused on yourself. You are feeling grumpy and wishing it would go away and not very happy. The third phase in exploring you’re beginning to see the future, new ideas are coming and in the last phase, you’re committing, like you’ve landed as you did with your own change process, you were committed. Then you see that little arrow on the right and it goes on to the next change because just as you finish feeling settled, the lizard is settled again, something else pulls and creates change.
Cynthia Scott: Let’s look at this as a way to help identify what behaviors you can expect in yourself or in others because what that will do is help you read the room of 300 people or your team and say, “Oh these behaviors are going on, therefore we must be in this phase,” because the one thing I really understand is people move at very different rates and it isn’t because they’re bad or good or ready or whatever, they’ve got different amounts of things going on in their lives which make them more available to make shifts. People can go very swift. You can go through all four of these phases in one meeting.
Cynthia Scott: You can start out with saying, “Oh there’s no problem. Oh, I hate this. Oh, we could do this and I’m ready to do that,” so that’s a very quick going through and expect people to move back and forth. You maybe in the morning in denying and then in the afternoon, you’re resisting and then you go back to denying. You may zigzag through and what your past experiences have, that’s what your lizard kind of … If your lizard has had a lot of tough changes, it will go back to those changes and saying I am in massive amounts of threat. What helps people to have more speed going through the change process is the amount of control, choice, autonomy, those kinds of things.
Cynthia Scott: Let’s go just briefly, I mentioned the zigzag a little bit and that’s the going back and forth, morning I’m in denying, the afternoon I’m in resisting and I sneak over to exploration, I have an idea, but then I’m back into saying I don’t like this. This is that zigzag and you’ll find yourself going through this as well as the other people that you’re working with. Do not judge or label people because they could switch and move and be somewhere else. You want to understand that that fluidity is going to go on and denying is all kinds of things, avoiding, talking about it, I am not concerned, I don’t want to deal with this, and I’m just going to do my work, I’m going to put my head down and do my work.
Cynthia Scott: Resisting often shows up as I’ll call it grumpiness, but upset, cynicism, anger, complaining, and blaming, checking out, exhausted, overwhelmed, all they do is talk about the change. That is really hallmarks of resisting and again, people are feeling it personally and the lizard wants to go back to the way it was. Exploring is about new ways and creating new things and finding new things to do, taking risks and in some ways being very chaotic, having so many ideas that they can’t stay focused, that they can’t figure out what’s important, like my startup right now is having very hard times, they are having a great exploration breakthrough.
Cynthia Scott: The committing is you’re back in control and feeling comfortable and oftentimes having a chance to say what did I learn, what was resilience, how did I gather myself, and beginning to look ahead at the next change. What I want to do now is help us look at places where you can get trapped and this is for persons, you all as changed leaders can get trapped and then we’ll say this as organizations can get trapped. There’s a very interesting thing about the transition curve. The bottom part is really personal and emotional, more about me and the top is more about the head and moving through logically. What happens is if you experience like I don’t have any change goals going on and it’s all done, that’s the get over it.
Cynthia Scott: Just suck it up and get over it and move on and be committed and show up well without taking any time to navigate the bottom part of experiencing the loss of pattern, of safety, of certainty, of status whatever it is, and then refined and resettling because what often happens with teams or persons is they don’t spend any time experiencing the loss, experiencing the chaos if you will of finding a new way. They get across and then they hit the next change and they don’t understand why they feel so bad because they go backwards into old loss, old chaos. They weren’t really over there, they pretended like Tarzan who swings across on the vine and hits the side of it, hits the side where he’s swinging and falls down.
Cynthia Scott: Some people who go quickly over the top may have several changes and then they hit the oh my gosh, look what’s really happened. The Tarzaning is very common in persons and in organizations because I’ll end up working with an organization that’s been through maybe two mergers that were poorly integrated and people are really upset, but they don’t know why they’re upset because they never had a chance to integrate and experience the loss and the change that they went through. Let’s do a little bit here about how do you move yourself through. We’ve got about 15 minutes left, so what I’m doing is moving us into what you do and then we’ll move into how do you do it for teams and groups.
Cynthia Scott: The first thing is to understand notice when something is happening. You are as a leader or a team leader, the change is going to affect you to. What is changing, can you acknowledge that doing a merger with a new organization is going to set off your lizard. Wake yourself up first and say, “Oh that’s what’s going on, that’s why in the second phase I am feeling so grumpy. I am talking all about the negative things, the new leader is never going to do this, look what is happening and being able to say I feel a little lost right now. I feel a little overwhelmed with all this transformation and this process that we’re doing.” Then being able to explore and reframe what you’re looking for, what might and how could and what possible outcomes.
Cynthia Scott: You may need to go look at other people because if you don’t feel them yet, you may have to see oh that’s what she’s experiencing, she’s starting to be in the exploring phase and I can see how those ideas might work here. At the end, being able to say I’m taking some actions, I’ve really moved myself forward, I’ve begun to really understand what happened here. This is just a self-coaching piece and what we’re going to do is turn this into a way to help the people in your organization and you to be a change leader. Move yourself through first and you will probably have the zigzags, you might have some Tarzaning going on around.
Cynthia Scott: You just go especially because leaders often feel that they have to show up like nothing’s happened and the more authentic leaders who can say this is hard for me too often engage more trust and give people a sense that they can begin to move as well. We’ll talk a little bit more about this in the next section. Basically endings take time and people always say well how much time should we leave. It’s like you basically want to give people a chance to experience the loss that they’re having and I love this picture of the caterpillar. All of a sudden, he’s a butterfly but he still thinks like a caterpillar. Many people who have experienced lots of change are one or two of these transition curves behind themselves.
Cynthia Scott: Let’s use the last piece of time to really look about leading teams and helping them reset performance and move through resisting because that’s where most persons and teams and organizations get stuck, so we’ll spend time. How do you lead through denying, and the important part about this is you may go and talk about it and they’re in denying and they are not listening and you said, “Well, I told you about this,” and they said, “We didn’t hear you” because they didn’t hear you. The lizard was so into denying that part of them couldn’t hear what you were talking about.
Cynthia Scott: You’re going to have to go back and back and back, and wake them up again and again and talk about what success looks like, talk about why we’re doing this, talk about hopes for the future, why there is a future if we make these changes. Oftentimes leaders get stuck. They announce it once and they don’t know why people didn’t listen because their lizard was in full denying. The second thing you do when you’re leading through resisting, I’m going to take a little more time on this because this is as I said where people get bogged down and it looks so easy to just say oh you’re supposed to listen. Well, listening is not easy and basically people are going to have all of their resisting behaviors.
Cynthia Scott: They’re going to blame it on you, they’re going to say you’re the fault of this, you didn’t support us, you didn’t protect us. You have to understand that the grumpiness is going to come forward and allowing the grumpiness to come forward is really helpful because what it does is it gives people a chance to finish and people say, “Oh if I let them complain, they’ll complain forever.” No, they often complain because you didn’t listen to them and you tried to move them into exploring and they weren’t done. What happens is you say, “This is really hard look, look at the amount of change that we’re asking you. We’re asking you to move, we’re asking you to change bosses, new countries.”
Cynthia Scott: Help people identify what’s happening in terms of the loss and potential gains, but they probably won’t want to hear about the gains, so just start with losses. It’s really helpful to also maybe visit other teams who’ve moved forward or begin to see what other people are doing, but just don’t understand that you as a change leader will have losses also. Give yourself some time and one of the things I like to talk about is wearing the tomato suit and often I had a red suit that I did a lot of some of this work with. I used to say, “Oh I just feel like I’ve stood there and they just threw tomatoes at me” because what’s happening is if you can be not defensive and let people say you don’t have to fix it but you do have to acknowledge it.
Cynthia Scott: You may want to have them write those terrible pictures of what is happening. I’m in the blender and my boss is pushing the pulse button and when you put up 300 pictures like that, you begin to see how hard it is for people and people who are experiencing resisting often when you can just listen to them, they will finish. They just need acknowledged and I encourage you to do this not one on one, but do it with larger groups because what happens is you can move people through more skillfully and quickly, but you will have to take time for 300 people to complain at their table groups or their onboarding meeting. Leading through exploring is not hard, but you do have to help them focus. People get all excited. They have lots of ideas they just want to start.
Cynthia Scott: This is where you actually give them training. This is where you do skill development because they are not ready for skill development and during denying, they don’t show up or in resisting, they’re just grumpy and they don’t remember anything. You have to save your skill development for when people move into this phase and you probably won’t have to encourage new ideas, but you’ll have to make some tough decisions. You’ll have to say great ideas, we can do these things, let’s begin here. The facilitate then focus and the last phase in committing when your team or your group or yourself, you’ll notice that shift and I asked you how did you know when you were 51% of the way there and people say things like, “Oh I felt differently when I pulled in the parking lot or I stopped eating all the time or I started eating again. I stopped sleeping.” Sometimes, it’s very body, it’s really a body signal of when things get better and you’ll have more focus, more energy, you’ll be able to set long-term goals. You’ll be able to reward and acknowledge yourself and reward and acknowledge your people for what they’ve been through. This is where you have celebrations. You say oh look what we did” and you begin to pull towards the next change. You say and the next change is going to be this. Basically this is the real easy way to summarize both the wake up, the listening, the focusing, and the implementation, acknowledgement, and celebration. Again, you can go through all these in one team meeting. You can say here’s where we’re going and make the announcement, and then listen to people say why this won’t work and how it’s going to fail, and then they begin to have ideas and then they begin to say well I could do this or we could try this. This is just your shorthand for being leading organizational change and people want to know where to start and I always encourage them to start with the group, and it’s often a small group who are over in exploring. They’re usually the quick adaptors or they haven’t been through so much that they still can find their resilience more quickly. Make sure you go to those people and give them something to do because they are ready to take action, put them on a taskforce, have them be your change navigators and your co-conspirators if you will in the change process. Then go back and wake people up who are in denying again. Go back because even though you said it, they didn’t hear you and say I need to tell you again. I had a boss once that said the dogs may bark but the caravan moves on. At a certain point, you have to get the new plan or you have to move, you have to go away. At some point, you can’t stay there forever. It’s not kind to let people stay in denying and then you go back to the people who are resisting and go one more round of yes, this is awful, this is hard, I know you feel upset, you wish it was different so you let the lizard have it say. That’s the game plan for really strategically and what I said earlier is when you’re doing training of new skills, do it in when people are in exploring, they’ll be ready. The one good thing about this program is that you can use this too as a session with people who are in denying and resisting, and the way the toolkit and the assessment is, you can use it to say oh you’re all really in denying and then go back to them and say let’s look at how we can begin to experience the loss and how hard this is. You can use this assessment to get a picture of where people are. You can hand it out and then you get data back, and then you’ve got to come say oh we’re we are definitely in these two quadrants. You can use the guide to introduce the basics of navigating and give people the change curve model, so they don’t feel lost and all of those phases are predictable and normal. If you didn’t have the ability to do denying, we would be overwhelmed by the amount of information and changes in the world. Denying is a real strength and a component of resilience. Being able to quickly experience the loss is also a resilience, to not just let it drag on and on, but say this is really awful and I’m having a hard time. Start a conversation about people’s experience, ask them what would make it successful, and use the model to acknowledge the normal process of resisting and help people understand the loss of all the status, certainly, autonomy, relationships, and fairness so you can use the SCARF model to help them understand resisting. The toolkit has lots of information in it and a couple things to just end. Remember that what you saw on Monday with the people is maybe not what you’ll see on Wednesday and meet with people, don’t make labels about their resistors or laggards. That kind of language really does not help people move. Involve the people who are being affected as much as possible, give them choice. These are the four changes were going to make, which one do you want to make first. Talk about goals and vision, keep telling people the new realities, help them stretch and see a future. If you can discuss your fears and concerns, you will make it safe for them to talk about their fears and concerns. Now I do a lot of work with leaders and leaders said they don’t want to ever say that they’re fearful. What happens is we’re all fearful and we’re all trying to figure this out. There’s no magic way to do this correctly. Just talk about concerns, talk about things that you are experiencing and as another way of holding open forums because resisting is people are often very loyal, but they are very grumpy and usually the people that are grumpiest, care the most. You don’t want to alienate them and label them as resistors. You want to listen to them and help them move back in with their own exploration. Have regular meetings, tell people when they’re winning, tell people what’s next. Rituals, celebrations, saying goodbye to old systems, old ways, things that have made you successful in the past, and help people get the new skills in you because they will move more more gently and well into the new ways. What I’ve tried to do with this session is it’s been fun to have this session and I really want to encourage you and support you as you do your work as change agents. I know we’re almost to the top of the hour, so I will let Liz close the session down and I don’t think we have any room for questions, but Liz you be the decider.
Liz: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much Cynthia. We don’t have time for questions but if you do have them and we actually haven’t had any questions come in. I think you provided such great information, people are thinking and chewing on it. If you have questions though, feel free, type them in now. You also can email or reach out to our team here and we’ll be happy to pass those on to Cynthia and respond to those. Feel free definitely, don’t hesitate to reach out. For those of you that are new to HRDQ-U, we publish research-based experiential learning products that you can deliver in your organization. Check out the workshops for online print self-assessments with classroom material, like the mastering the change curve that was the foundation of today’s webinar.
Liz: We also offer up out of your seat games and reproducible workshops you can customize and if you do find you would like some additional help either delivering training internally at your organization or training your trainers, we provide that service as well. Feel free, reach out to us, we’re here to be a resource for you and Cynthia thank you so much for sharing your expertise today.
Cynthia Scott: Good, thank you very much Sara. It was fun, thank you.
How does the Transition Curve Model change for those initiating the change in their own lives?
We move much quicker through the phases of change when it is a change we see many advantages to and do not see any loss. We do that frequently when we are shopping. We see something we really like and hardly go through any denial or resistance.
Secondly, if we are initiating the change, we tend to suppress any doubts we have about the change. Before we start initiating it, we may have had some doubts, but if we do not see any personal loss, we eliminate any defense we have about the change. We are willing to give up our comfort of the status quo and lead the change.
It is hard to fully obligate (Phase 4 – Commitment) oneself to the change until there has been some satisfactory examination (Phase 3 – Exploration). It’s like committing with some friends to go sky-diving. You get in the plane and as the plane ascends, you have some questions about what you are doing and why you are doing this. These questions demonstrate that you have not fully committed to the event. There always are some people who change their mind and ride the place back to the ground.
Even though the graphic has the arrow going one way to the right, it is natural to have some reconsidering that moves you back. When I had finally decided to move from Windows 7 to Windows 10 I went to Best Buy when they were having a sale to buy a new computer. However, I discovered I had not thought through several issues and walked out of the store without buying.
I went back to my office and researched the questions I had. I finally became more committed to one option and went back a couple of days later to pick out the computer I wanted. I thought I was now at final commitment.
But when I started setting up the machine and installing software, I once again had some doubts. I even thought to myself, “I did not need to do this. I should return this and get my money back.” Yes, all the way back to Phase 1 – Denial. Luckily, I worked some more on the set-up, came back around the change curve and got back to commitment. I then started working on the new computer.
So, we all start at Denial and move either rapidly or slowly but can change direction at any point. The Mastering the Change Curve inventory is only a “snapshot in time” showing us where we are at the moment we take the assessment.
Our studies of managers in companies do show that they have moved through the change curve much faster on changes that the general workforce. That is because managers must be the advocates of the change.
My hunch is that your Denial and Resistance Phases were so quick you did not notice them.