Category Archives: Values

Change In Organisations: The Stress of Change

CHANGE AND STRESS

The thing about change can be stressful, it is filled with the unknown. The challenge is that if we sit in our comfort zones, we do not learn or grow. We become stagnant. Organisations that do not adapt, die. While change is an inevitable part of life, within organisations there are people; individuals are involved and this is where the challenge lies.

If you think that 100 years ago, a company that made horse buggies would have a very successful business. Not that many years later, such a business would be struggling to survive if surviving at all. Fifteen years ago, businesses such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, Uber were either in their infancy or not even possible. We need to adapt and change, but this is not an easy or simple exercise, especially for people.


Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

George Bernard Shaw


When we are comfortable, and things are easy; we live in our comfort zone. This is a realistically easy space, we are not learning, nothing is changing. Being out of our comfort zone pushes us to a space of stress: Eustress or Distress.

Eustress is good stress, the positive learning stress; it is the butterflies in our stomach, the excitement and positive emotion without the fear. It motivates us to do something that is not in our comfort zone. It is different to distress which is the fear and panic, the fight flight stress. The stress that makes our minds go blank, our palms sweat and overwhelm us with the desire to run screaming from the building.

The  challenging part is that eustress and distress are based on who perceives the stress rather than the stress itself. It is totally subjective. This is an incredible challenge for leaders in leading organisations. This is especially given the rise in stress-related medical challenges and high profile resignations or medical leave.

We need to encourage people to be in eustress but avoid distress; the challenge is that each individual will react to changes differently. Getting this balance right is one of the challenges of leadership.

Our next post will talk about encouraging change in organisations to engage the eustress in individuals and getting the balance right between eustress and distress.

This series will explore the area of change and how organisations can facilitate and adapt to the changing world. Subscribe to the Cedar Consulting blog to follow our perspective on change and feel free to post comments and thoughts.

This was published in (http://www.cedar.consulting/blog/2015/5/6/stress-of-change). The rest of this series will explore the area of change and how organisations can facilitate and adapt to the changing world. Subscribe to the Cedar Consulting blog to follow our perspective on change and feel free to post comments and thoughts.

Change In Organisations: The Challenge of Change

There is the famous apocryphal chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times” which suggests that change is both interesting and a challenge. As people, we wrestle with change; we are excited by the prospect of things changing for the better (as sung by Bob Dylan and Sheryl Crow) and yet terrified of the negative consequences that change might bring; feeling out of control and not able to cope with the change.

The same applies in organisations; yet it is the change of the collective. How do we keep evolving and changing which is necessary for survival and growth and still manage the fear of change?


CHANGE IS THE LAW OF LIFE. AND THOSE WHO LOOK ONLY TO THE PAST OR PRESENT ARE CERTAIN TO MISS THE FUTURE.

JOHN F. KENNEDY


CHANGE AGILE / CHANGE FRAGILE

I once worked in an organisation where there was a change in the colour of the payslips; if I remember correctly, it went from green to purple. For context, this organisation was one of regular change. Nothing ever seemed to stay still. Yet, when this change was made, a long standing member of staff came to ask, “why did we change the colour?”. After a number of back and forth comments, the real question emerged, “what was wrong with the last colour” and “why did it need to change?”

The answer was there was no need or requirement to change; but it was a natural change. The positive outcome was that the staff seemed to actually look at their payslips again. This story highlights the fact that the idea of change is complex, here was someone who was used to change but found certainty in the consistency of certain things, such as the colour of their payslips.

I often define people on the principle of “change fragile” or “change agile”. Some individuals respond to change with a welcome enthusiasm and others run as fast as they can.

How can we create organisations that are ‘change agile’ and not ‘change fragile’? Well, as always, it starts with the people.

This was published in (www.cedar.consulting/blog/2015/5/4/the-challenge-of-change). The rest of this series will explore the area of change and how organisations can facilitate and adapt to the changing world. Subscribe to the Cedar Consulting blog to follow our perspective on change and feel free to post comments and thoughts.