Change management isn’t some touchy-feely, soft-side-of-the-organization thing. It’s not about telling everyone on the team that everything is going to be okay and sending them back to perform their job. They may not have a job to go back to. Managing change means you train yourself to take the time to listen and understand the emotions and beliefs of those affected by change.
You need to do this because emotions and beliefs trigger behaviors – either positive or destructive – and collectively these behaviors are what achieve your Compelling Picture of the Future or destroy it.
So, clearly, learning how to listen and to re-frame negative emotions and beliefs into something that will trigger positive behaviors has significant ROI.
When an employee is in pain and you don’t understand or ignore it, you lose positive active engagement from that individual. They “show-up” for work but don’t own the result. Additionally, they exhibit poor emotional resiliency and therefore lack the ability to bounce-back from problems and challenges. All of this results in the loss of numerous opportunities for your organization. Not to mention the fact that lawsuits are often the result of not proactively engaging with, understanding and managing change in employees, clients and prospects.
Those are serious costs and consequences and fall under what I call the Chain of Pain.
On the other hand, when an employee is in pain and you, your team and other employees recognize the pain, individuals feel important and start a different kind of chain – the Chain of Gain.
In the Chain of Gain scenario, employees move forward despite set-backs and challenges. They then talk about their experience in the company rumor mill and positivity spreads. By listening and re-framing you have guided your team’s conversation to be aligned with your Compelling Picture of the Future and that’s the ultimate gain. Because when employees are magnetized by and aligned with that picture, and see how it impacts their own future, they work hard to help the organization get there.
The Cost of Poor Emotional Resiliency
John was working on a very big and important sales opportunity. In doing so, he let other smaller opportunities go unnoticed so he could focus on this one showcase opportunity.
It looked like it all was going to close until he got the call one Friday afternoon.
He was told the business he was trying to close went to a competitor and there was nothing he could do to change the outcome.
John’s heart stopped beating as he listened to the news. He was in emotional denial and regret as he hung up the phone. As he left the office, he couldn’t bear to face his peers and manager.
It was a dreadfully long, lonely weekend as he kept playing the call over and over in his head. He felt like he failed and the future looked dark.
Monday morning he just couldn’t make any prospecting phone calls and the rest of the week he was far less than fully engaged. This lasted for the remainder of the month.
The set-back was very difficult to overcome and cost him and the company time thanks to John’s poor emotional resiliency.
In fact, he overlooked many new opportunities during that time because he didn’t have the emotional tools to overcome his pain, and his manager didn’t not have the tools and know-how to help John bounce back.
Changing Pain to Gain
Change affects us all in a personal way. A personal problem or test that motivates one person crushes another.
If an individual has a good understanding of their emotions and beliefs, though, and know that they create their own circumstances, they have a higher level of emotional literacy than the average person.
If an individual does not have this understanding, they will always fall into pain. Specifically, the pain of fear, uncertainty and doubt, which can easily turn into a paralysis of inactivity.
So how do you turn an employee around?
The downward spiral of emotions, beliefs and behaviors that is the Chain of Pain often requires the help of others to break, but shifting another person into the Chain of Gain requires training.
You, your executive team and all employees, will need to learn how to move from emotional Pain to Gain – quickly. You will want everyone in your company involved because the Chain of Pain is simply too big tackle alone.
But once you’ve increased resiliency throughout your organization, your employees will become a force that’s tough to beat, helping you grow your company at a record pace.