Mark Mueller-Eberstein – TRANSCRIPT
So, we’re talking about transformation and change, right? And there is a lot of change around us. Technology is changing, societies are changing, our personal lives are changing.
The only constant in life is really change. But, why is change often so scary? Why do we not see the opportunities, but only the risks? Why is it so hard to get out of the comfortable status quo we are in right now to move forward? Well, of course you need some energy, right? If you are comfortable in one place, you need some energy to move forward, you need to find the energy somewhere within, or around you.
And then, of course, we’re human. We have emotions, and very often, our emotions get the better of us when confronted with traumatic transformational change around us. Professor Schlossberg has a great theory and a great model of transition that really explains the emotional roller coaster we are going through when confronted with radical transformation.
Something big happens to us or around us or with us, the first thing: denial – this is not happening! It’s not happening to us, it’s not happening now. Eventually, though, reality sinks in, a lot of fear and anxiety take over. What do we do, what does it mean for us? Will we have enough to eat, will we have a roof over our head, will we be loved, who knows? We’re stressed, we try not to deal with it but eventually, we’ll try to find out how to practice some things.
Try, well, this works, this might not work, we are learning things, and then, we start to discover the opportunities in the transformation. We’re getting excited we want to change the world, and want to change everybody around us and with us, and realize everybody else — while we are super enthusiastic — might be still on the other side and be stuck in fear and anger and depression.
So, this is how it works. Sometimes it goes in seconds, sometimes it takes years and unfortunately, sometimes people and complete organizations get stuck somewhere in the middle of deep depression, unproductivity, and fear. So, our goal — if we have reached the excitement about the transformation we want to drive, is to take the other people with us, and help them through this emotional rollercoaster.
How do we do this? First: You want to have a super clear vision of what this transformation actually looks like. Has to be clear, has to be short, has to be crisp and by the way, 80% of all change management projects fail because they don’t have a good vision. So, if you get one thing right, this has a huge opportunity.
Second: Be clear on the impact. Of course, the negative impact if you don’t move, or the people around you don’t move, the organizations don’t move. But also the positive impact, that addresses the fears, the concerns and the search for opportunities that is out there with all of us that gives us something to hold on, to get the energy, to get through this curve and get out and be enthusiastic and motivated and drive things forward.
Communicate. If you’re dealing with someone who is in denial or in deep fear they are not reading a five page document, so you have to be very clear and crisp, what’s in it for them, why they don’t have to be afraid, and how they can help to move things forward, and make it better.
Over-communicate, again and again and again according to where somebody is on the emotional curve. Doesn’t matter if you’re enthusiastic, if they’re afraid, you need to be addressing them where they are and to deal with their fears.
Fourth: Don’t do it alone. Build a team that helps you to understand the big picture. A diverse team with diverse viewpoints sharpens your vision, gets a better strategy, gets a better plan and you have a lot of allies that can help people and organizations for every stage of the emotional curve.
And last, but not least: You own the change. You are the leader of the change you want to see and you want to drive. Celebrate the victories, step by step while you’re going through this transformation. So people stay engaged they see the progress and you start a movement, and more and more people will join and support you in that journey.
And at the end, don’t forget to celebrate the victory. Celebrate, harness the energy because one thing is sure change is happening again but if you have successfully managed to radical transformation once, a second time it’s not easy, but it’s going to be easier. With that, I want to invite you. We’re in a world full of opportunities. Some of them look scary, but they are definitely out there to make our world a better place and I would like you to become the change you want to see in the world.
Thank you very much.