'Nobody likes change', they say. And yet it happens all around us, all the time. How do we cope, and how can we thrive?
Autumn is coming
I am writing this on the autumn equinox, the day where the nights start to become longer than the days. But I'm still wearing shorts (my summer working from home uniform). I know that I'll have to change into trousers soon enough, but I'm not quite ready to give up on the idea of summer.
This sort of feeling is common in any process of change. I recognise that things are changing around here, but I'm not ready to give up on the old ways and accept the new way of doing things. If only we can carry on the way things were a little longer, that would be OK wouldn't it?
I want to share a little exercise that I like to use with teams who are in the middle of in a change project: spot it, say it, share it.
Spot it, say it, share it
The best way explain this exercise is with an example. This morning I went for a run around the local park (I've not done that enough this summer, and the thought of cold wet days ahead sparked a feeling of melancholy as I completed my loop), and I used the spot it, say it, share it approach to help me reflect on my feelings about the change of seasons.
Spot it: I noticed all the things that were changing, the acorns and conkers on the ground, some trees are starting to look brown, the birds weren't singing as much as I remember from the summer, more people were wearing jumpers this morning, but there was still heat in the sun. I concentrated on spotting the changes around me.
Say it: As I listed off the changes that I could see, I started giving a name to my feelings about those changes. I was sad that there weren't any swifts and swallows flying overhead, I really love those birds. I regretted not making more of the summer months with morning runs. But I enjoyed the way the light was softer and was thankful that it was still warm enough not to worry about gloves. I got a sense of camaraderie by nodding to the other joggers and dog walkers out there, thinking that they are probably sharing my feelings.
Share it: Well, that's what I'm doing now on this blog. I would normally advise that a safe space is created to share these sorts of feelings during a change project. That's why I didn't just stop people in the park and tell them that I was apprehensive about having to change my work garb to trousers every day... they wouldn't have been prepared for the conversation!
The reason that this exercise works is because it encourages everyone to reflect on the changes that are happening, their emotions around them and to be open with others who are going through the changes too. The exercise can work well at several points in the 'dip' of the Kubler-Ross change curve and can be repeated several times over to help everyone to explore their journey through the change.
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