In Chapter 6 Conner continues by talking about the next support pattern, the Process of Change, or the mechanisms of human transition. He says that people who adapt more slowly than others have a low tolerance for ambiguity and see life in black and white or yes and no terms. Resilient people, however, realize that change is fluid and that much of their time will be spent in transitions.
Conner outlines a three phase transition state first outlined by Kurt Lewin in 1958 which says that there are three states: the present state, the transition state, and the desired state. The present state is the status quo. The transition state is that state of uncertainty where we develop new attitudes and behaviors. This can be a scary time and people often revert back to the old state due to the sense of ambiguity. The desired state is new state.
To get through the phases Conner refers back to Charles Darwins theory of survival of the fittest. He says more organizations initiate change than actually successfully sustain it. He says winners are those resilient individuals or organizations who manage change at a speed that allows them effectively implement transition on time and on budget. He says one of the biggest differences of winners compared to losers is tenacity. He says that a burning platform is often a reason that organizations have that tenacity as it is the resolve, or usually a business imperative, that requires them to make a change.
A burning platform situation often occurs as a result of already being in pain or due to anticipated pain. If a change is introduced due to anticipated pain then the organization often has more time to make strategic moves. Commitment comes with the resolve. Conner continues by saying that any change not only needs pain, but also a remedy to solve the problem. In order to sell the change it is often necessary to orchestrate pain messages (or messages that generate enough incentive to want to create commitment to the change) as well as approach the change from the hopes, fears, and perceptions of multiple different frames of reference within the organization (e.g. - honor their perceptions of reality).
Are you in enough pain to change? Are you approaching the change from the frame of reference of many different people within your organization in order to "sell" it appropriately?
In Chapter Three Conner continues by saying that the rate of change has increased and yet people continue to operate as if this magnitude of change can be managed in the same way as it has in the past. He says that the volume, momentum, and complexity of change is accelerating at an increasing pace. He attributes this to seven fundamental issues:
In Chapter Four Conner says that managers are often not equipped to deal with the "future shock" or too much change in a short amount of time. He says that during this increased speed of change people don't stop changing, but they become less and less effective on both the job and personal fronts (e.g. - displaying dysfunctional behavior). This results in behaviors such as:
Do you ever see yourself and/or others in your organization displaying the behaviors above?
I don’t know about you, but I have been enamored by the Olympics and have been watching them as much as possible. What I especially love seeing are the Olympians who have fought through adversity and come back better for it.
This year the story was Jordyn Wieber of the women’s gymnastics team who missed out on making the all-around final because her score was lower than two other American gymnasts. But two days later she came back with the American team and won gold, only the second time in history that the American women’s team has done that. She led the team out with a vault where she stuck the landing and set the tone for the entire evening.
The other example is Michael Phelps not medaling in his first event, the 400 IM, and then two days later coming out and getting two medals to make Olympic history of 19 overall medals.
What is amazing about these two stories is the resilience that both of these Champions displayed. It is of course talent and hard work, but what really sets them above and beyond I think is their mindset. They were able to control their emotions of their loss, focus on the big picture of their goals, put the past behind them, recognize that they can learn and grow from this process and then hit gold.
Both of these champions were able to be resilient. They took what could have been catastrophic and turned it around to something amazing. They were able to think about the situation, let go of the pain and sorrow of it quickly by feeling the emotions associated with the process, and then get back to focusing on what they truly wanted.
As a result of their strong mind, they were able to remain confident and pull out incredible wins. That is what I call a true champion and a true leader!
How resilient are you in reaching your goals? What can you learn from these champions in working towards your vision?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.