I had an interesting coaching session with one of my clients this morning and thought it   necessary to put my thoughts to paper and share.

When we talk about Change and the process of change, we imagine one wave of change at a time. Over time the following diagram has be used repeatedly to illustrate and explain the process and the emotional roller-coaster that change bring with it.

When only one aspect of our lives is impacted, we have the luxury of engaging and dealing with that one aspect. In the life I got used to over the years, possibly a decade ago, change seemed slow. So, I believe that people also had the luxury of taking their time to deal with change to get to where they commit. I believe that as time moved the changes came closer and closer to each other, so more and more we were dealing with shorter windows for change to land and make a difference until the next change lands. When you look at the illustration above you realise that it means with each change, the whole process must be completed if there has to be progress.

Secondly, when you deal with different people, the change lands differently, which adds to the duration each person takes to process the change and get to the integrating the change into life moving forward. The following illustration gives an idea why the duration will not be the same:

Everyone has a SWOT profile: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths. The weaknesses are closest to the trigger. Once our system picks up a “foreign” object in our vicinity, our safety alert goes up. This because we all have an innate responsibility to stay safe emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, psychologically, and mentally. So, our “antennae” scan our environment continually so that if there is a need, and when there is a need, we can survive. There are three well known survival strategies for all the aspects of our identity, fight, freeze or flee. So, once our system picks up possible danger, we adopt one of these survival strategies to survive.

So, the trigger either lands on the “there is a threat” which means on either our weakness and threat side, or on the opportunities and strengths side. Let me give you an example: Anytime someone expects me to do something online, this expectation, which is a trigger, lands on my threat and weakness. Threat because now I must trial something and may fail. So, my self-image is under threat. Technically I am not the best in terms on just understanding the tech jargon, so the trigger lands on my weakness. Any time this happens I do not end of with a good experience. Most of the time I fight. Lately I freeze. I know that the 4th Industrial Revolution is here, and I cannot avoid it, so I postpone or walk away from opportunities. For young tech savvy people this expectation lands on opportunity and strength. They have fun.

Each time we hear something new, it is a trigger. This trigger could be for the worst and it could also be for the best. When it is for the best, we engage it from possibilities and opportunities. We snap into creativity and we maximise the benefit from the change and we get our desired results, which make us happy.

I have presented two critical features of change among people that every leader needs to be aware of and needs to consider all the time when leading people. People are different. They have different responses to triggers all because of their unique personal SWOT profiles. Change has a process; it starts with a “trigger” and ends when a person has accepted it and integrated it enough to restore security and safety.

COVID19 has brought about change on “steroids” like some young people will say. COVID19 has challenged our safety emotionally, socially, physically, mentally, psychologically, financially, and spiritually. COVID19 has brought along multiple waves of change.  We are each dealing with multiple changes, and each change is on its own path of processing towards integration. What compounds the processing of these waves of change is that because the changes land on different parts of our personal SWOT profiles, we are processing some changes faster than others. When a person says, “I am all over the place”, this is exactly what it means. Processing multiple triggers simultaneously, landing on different parts of our being, impacting us differently and not having clarity of what is working and what is not.

The additional compounding feature of COVID19 is the fact that there is still so much uncertainty in the system. What seems integrated when we go to sleep has become irrelevant the following day because new information has come to light. For me the perfect example is the information around whether young children can be affected by COVID19 or not. Each time there is a new version parents engage a new wave of change. What to do or not to do with their children to keep them safe.

I have shared a lot just describing how personal being or profile merges with the change process. This for every leader to appreciate firstly what you are dealing with as a person, and secondly that you are leading people who are dealing with all these multiple waves of change processes.

Please engage the following questions:

  • How aware are you of this processes in your own life?
  • How aware are you that each one of the people you lead is dealing with these multiple waves of change and impact?
  • Do you know which skills set you need to firstly self-lead, and secondly lead each person?
  • What do you need to START/STOP/CONTINUE doing to lead aligned to the values that you committed to yourself and others?
  • What is in your Self-leadership Leadership Toolbox? Vision. Mission. Values. Personal conscious commitment. Personal Brand. Passion. Purpose.
  • When last did you look at these tools and establish how to use them now?
  • What is in your company/role Leadership Toolbox? Vision. Mission. Values. Organisational/Team conscious commitment. Brand. Strategic Imperatives.
  • When last did you look at these tools and establish how to use them now?

I am pausing to allow you space to process without imposing solutions. If you need us to facilitate unearthing answers an solutions please email: queen@tsheto.co.za.

Wishing a powerful leadership journey!