In any transition, whether it is leading change through a hostile work environment or attempting to motivate employees, people will go through the change curve. This process could take a couple of days or a few weeks depending on a person’s experience with handling change.
Leaders, managers and top performers will most likely go through the transition with ease. This is because they have the skills to be adaptable, think critically, problem solve and find resources. Leaders and managers have unknowingly adapted to change by fulfilling the responsibilities of their roles, such as seeing through projects and managing employees. When managing a project, leaders learn to adapt to changes every time a deadline is missed or when cost estimates rise. The more familiar a person is with going through the change curve, the easier his/her transition will be.
On the other hand, average associates whose daily responsibilities and tasks don’t waver as much, will have a more difficult time transitioning. They have become comfortable with their roles and what’s expected of them. They do not directly face the pressures of explaining to a client why a deadline was missed or why costs have risen. The change curve is new to them, making it more difficult for them to realize when they are experiencing denial, despair and anger during the process. They run the risk of falling into the “valley of despair” of the change curve.
It is so important to focus on helping average and top performers through the transition. Once leaders and managers are through the change curve, they can help lead the rest of the team by reminding people of the end goal and settling fears that team members may have.
Be careful of low performers. These are the people who tend to get stuck in the “valley of despair.” Due to their inexperience, they are unable to accept the change and move forward. Most likely these people will jump ship (ie: quit their jobs) or resort to hostility causing the termination of their position. Remember that the longer a person stays in the “valley of despair,” the more difficult it will be for him/her to climb out of it. It’s crucial for leaders to recognize when a team member is at this point in his/her transition and help them out as quickly as possible. However, not everyone can be saved; even some leaders get stuck. This is when you need to reevaluate your stakeholders and prioritize the time and energy it will take to transition your team.
Most people will be average performers, so most of your team will transition. Seek help from the high performers to lead the way and give low performers the option to seek new opportunities.
Contact us today to if you would like to learn more about helping your team transition through change.