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Change Continuum Loop | Part Two

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Part two : Change Continuum Loop

In my previous blog Part One : Change Continuum Loop, I discussed the various phases employees and workplaces undergo when changes occur. In this second blog installment on the Change Continuum Loop, I’ll be discussing how our teams can help support you and your organization through workplace changes.

EUA TRANSITION MANAGEMENT

Design is often seen as one of the causes of change. In the ENDINGS phase, the idea of adapting to a new workplace is often a serious concern of individuals and teams, if not a loss worth fighting for. In the CREATIVE TENSION phase, the workplace design process is often seen as the culprit, victimizing the future inhabitants with forced adoption of the change. In the NEW BEGINNINGS phase, the workplace is often seen as necessary to live with, no matter what. The sense of loss can linger for significant amounts of time.

Rifts often occur within these phases of change. When a change initiative is being introduced to a team at work, the change initiators have already been grappling with the change. So as the team is entering the ENDINGS phase, the leaders are in the NEW BEGINNINGS phase. The result is misalignment. By the time the teams of people have entered the CREATIVE TENSION phase, the emotional content is often incredibly high and affects the productivity levels of both the old work behaviors and the new.

EUA has created a series of tools and engagements to intervene in CHANGE READINESS, CHANGE ACCEPTANCE and CHANGE ADOPTION phases that align with the stresses of the CHANGE CYCLE.

CHANGE READINESS

A child can adapt to change at an incredible pace. Their brains are built to learn new conditions and adapt to new situations readily. As the adult brain becomes fully developed, it is designed to hone our experiences into more predictable and repeatable patterns to create expected outcomes and value propositions. Simultaneously, the adult is required to learn and grow, creating an opportunity to engage in the positive values of change; but it requires more energy than a child. By measuring an adult’s readiness, it is possible to use that readiness as a positive catalyst within teams in the ENDINGS process of the change cycle.

EUA has several expertise tools, and engagements focused on CHANGE READINESS to inform the necessary ENDINGS. Visioning, behavior analysis, storytelling, and change measurement are designed to enter the endings phase early to introduce positive readiness in anticipation of the coming NEW BEGINNINGS.

Make Real Change

CHANGE ACCEPTANCE

Change is often described as emotional. Indeed, it is. But change also creates sensory expectations, “show me what it looks like,” and intellectual needs for information, “tell me more about it.” In the highest states of change, intuitive belief and trust that the future will be okay is required. To complicate the CREATIVE TENSION phase, everyone has unique preferences for how they interact with their acceptance of change; some require visual views into the future; some require intellectually-based information to build their understanding, and some need to express and explore their emotional content. In general, a team of people under a change situation will express widely varying responses in their acceptance journey to belief and trust in the change.

EUA tools designed for CHANGE ACCEPTANCE are intended to translate the burdens of the CREATIVE TENSION phase and present them earlier within the NEW BEGINNINGS phase. Change imagery, imagine sessions, “means / does not mean” sessions, and data collection / Interpretation are designed to reach everyone on multiple levels of change acceptance. Procured with strategic intent, the tools and engagements utilized in the CHANGE ACCEPTANCE phase will positively impact the vicious cycle created from the complexity within the CREATIVE TENSION phase. The design is the culminating vision needed to end the cycle of getting stuck in the CREATIVE TENSION phase, resulting in early entry into the NEW BEGINNINGS. Full Change Management work includes sensory, intellectual, and emotional tools and engagements. The results will create belief and trust in the group’s future, transforming the vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle.

CHANGE ADOPTION

Because the adult brain is so adept at its ability to be hard-wired, the CHANGE READINESS and CHANGE ACCEPTANCE phases require reinforcement. Behavioral changes require alignment with the new work process and preferred cultural changes identified in the workplace strategy. Behavioral change requires consistent and focused reinforcement. Often cited as “breaking bad habits,” in reality, a group of individuals at work will naturally retract to the behaviors of the past based on subtle clues. For example, if innovation were a strategic driver for a change process, and the casual cross sharing of information was identified as a positive group behavior for innovation, a new workplace may include strategically located causal seating to encourage idea sharing. But, if casual interaction was deemed as “non-productive” time in the past, then using these new settings may be perceived as a negative. Raising one eyebrow from a team manager can leave the causal seating unused after months in the new space.

EUA’s tools and engagements are designed to discover, understand, and accentuate the adoption of new behaviors within a new space. Diagnostic measurement, behavioral observations, and team engagements will reinforce the work of the CHANGE READINESS and CHANGE ACCEPTANCE phases to build new behaviors into strong business results. The design strategy is only as good as the alignment with people’s behaviors. Business results are dependent on the adoption of these new behaviors. The celebration of adoptions is vital in driving home NEW BEGINNINGS. Celebration as reinforcement should never be underestimated as a value in the Transition Management Process.

Brady Mick, AIA, MCRw, Prosci
Director of Workplace Strategy

Brady Mick is an Architect, Design Strategist and Thought Leader Serving as EUA's Director of Workplace Strategy