Welcome to our series on Reframing Change. In these articles, we’ll reflect on our relationship with change, how we’ve been socialized to resist or embrace change, how change depends on self-trust, and how we can evolve the way we change. We also share how we made change part of our values and working agreements so that we can co-create with safety and trust. And we describe how we partner with clients through difficult changes.
New clients reach out to us when they are in crisis. They call us when teams are in conflict, when leaders have lost trust, when people continue to leave, when colleagues are overwhelmed with trying to fit in, or when everyone is struggling with a lack of clarity.
Sometimes, we go through the Discovery process with an organization only to have them not move forward with us. Sometimes, it’s a matter of fit or timing. Often, though, it’s a deep resistance to change. It’s simple to want others to change and to want structures to change, but the transformation we bring to organizations calls for each person to confront difficult changes.
When we move into Foundations work with leaders and organizations, we are careful to hold their openness to change with celebration. We know from our own experience how painful change is to face and move through.
Change might ask us to reexamine our identity, privilege, priorities, or relationships. Because of the stories and beliefs we carry, we can respond to change in unproductive ways. We reassure organizations we partner with that resistance to change is actually part of our process and a very normal part of transformation.
We share the phases of Organizational Change, which hone in on our emotions and experiences. The phases include shock, disbelief, and resistance. What’s powerful about looking at organizational-level change is that we can contextualize the interpersonal.
We can see conflict or difficult emotions not simply as individual difficulties, but as responses to change. In response, we can communicate better and reinforce people’s autonomy. We also share our own struggles with conflict at Leverage to Lead, and our own discomforts around change.
We help clients move forward by relying on Human-Centered Practices and values. If we build relationships first, we can hear different perspectives without being reactive. We can pause, check our understanding, listen with deep regard, and feel safe sharing our own experiences. Then, we can opt for change or not. We can see our choices and make a decision.
Change can be revealing. Often one change can be a lever for further change. We might suddenly realize a need we’ve had, whether for more support, time, reflection, distance, or self-care. We regularly see clients going through professional changes and feel an impact on their personal lives too. It’s not uncommon to find therapy helpful during major work changes. It helps us see our behaviors, motivations, and needs more clearly. We can better hear the stories behind our actions.
We have supported organizations through the loss of their founder and the new roles, relationships teammates had to step into while navigating grief. We’ve journeyed with companies through multiple CEO changes that impact values.
In every case, we help individuals care for themselves through the change. Sometimes that happens through one-on-one processing sessions. Sometimes we hold up a mirror to how the change is driving behavior. Sometimes we hold space for their challenging emotions and offer deep regard for their feelings and experiences. And always, it means cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.
We’d love to talk about how we can partner with you through the changes, big or small, leading to your organization’s transformation. Contact our team at any time.