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?
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.