The Change Curve by Trevor Brennan
The Change Curve, by Health Club sales and marketing guru Trevor Brennan
By: Trevor Brennan
Quickly realising that I was riding the curve myself (do we ever not?), I delved deep into the mental archives and defined my own current position.
Developed in the 1960's by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the Change Curve was first intended to explain the grieving process. By the 1980's however, the model was a firm fixture in change-management circles, and is still widely recognised today as a key tool to understanding change.
Stage 1: Shock and Denial
The first reaction to change is often shock. Short-lived, this can result in a sharp drop in productivity. After the initial shock has passed, it is common for individuals to experience denial.
I've also noticed that those less-experienced can be particularly affected during this stage. Certainly one for the more experienced leaders to consider.
Stage 2: Anger and Depression
After the feelings of shock and denial, anger is considered to be the next stage. The organisation (or individual) becomes the scapegoat and conflict is often found.
Once acceptance that the change is genuine; self-doubt, tension and low-morale tend to be common. Performance will be at its lowest, and one can obsess on minute detail. Individuals may continue to perform their tasks as they did before.
Stage 3: Acceptance and Integration
As the caliginous days of stage 2 clear, a more optimistic attitude emerges. Individuals accept that change is inevitable, and begin to work with (rather than against) the changes.
Productivity will tend to remain slow, however will begin to show signs of recovery as team-members look to integrate the change into their daily routine.
What I've learnt
Communicate The Change Curve to your team at the earliest opportunity.
Be prepared for emotional responses, and don't take it personally.
Believe in yourself.
Be prepared for lots of questions, and take intrigue as an opening to Stage 3.