Managing Change During Times of Uncertainty

by Nov 9, 2020

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Unplanned circumstances this year have drastically altered our personal and professional life. The changes that we have gone through so far in 2020 have left us overwhelmed. Some of us have lost loved ones while others have lost their livelihood.

We are perpetually living in fear of the unknown. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t been affected by changes and uncertainty this year.

Change is Disruptive

Whether it is the change that we choose to make in our lives, or it is the change that is being forced upon us by sudden turn of events, change is always disruptive.

Change leads to a ripple effect on people. The impact of any change is usually more than we anticipate, and it affects all of us.

To navigate through the uncertainty of change, the first step is identifying the roadblock in accepting change. We need to deal with the obstacle that is stopping us from realizing why change is necessary in the first place.

We all process change differently. While going through change, we go through cycles of transition similar to those of mourning.

First, we act in denial against things that are happening. Then, we move to the confusion and anger of what’s going on. Eventually, we accept how things are different and not in our control. We don’t go through these cycles all at once.

It is essential to understand where you and the people associated with you are in the change acceptance curve, in order to properly manage the relevant uncertainties.

“To help each other with change, we need to understand our readiness to move forward.”

Change is Progress

About 70% of progress activities fizzle since people and organizations don’t participate fully, mostly because they don’t have access to proper management practices.

“The ideal destinations must be completely acknowledged for change to be effective.”

Researchers have set up a few models for effectively exploring through change. From moderately casual to exceptionally organized structures, probably the best techniques and approaches incorporate Lewin’s Change Model, Kotter’s Change Management Theory, and the ADKAR Model.

Despite the model chosen, arranged change may be executed in an assortment of ways, contingent upon the establishment’s necessities, objectives, and culture.

“The key to managing change is how we as individuals prepare for it, and respond to it.”

The present climate is driving change at a remarkable rate. 

The movement of progress is quickening, expecting associations to think about advances in new ways of doing things.

Removing Uncertainty

We are confronting a new normal where the old principles don’t have any significant bearing. We know that what worked back in the day, isn’t’ going to work in the future, but we don’t know for sure what the future holds either.

“Uncertainty breeds vulnerability for the future of organizations and people.”

Managing vulnerability typically includes surveying operational and money related dangers — to give some examples.

These examinations help diminish vulnerability.

Yet, who in this day and age, can sensibly profess to have the option to gauge the dangers of a market downturn emergency due to a novel pandemic lock down?

Who can also gauge business operational dangers connected to a novel pandemic that requires people keep distant from each other?

“Vulnerability produces uneasiness and nervousness which breeds resistance.”

The higher the degree of vulnerability, the more probable resistance will hinder any sort of groundbreaking progress.

According to Rita Gurgett Martell, a recent guest on my Rant & Grow podcast, who is the author of two books: Change Ready! and Defining Moments, following a process of the five Cs will help individuals and organizations make better choices

The Five Cs to Managing Uncertainty

1) Clarity — The clearer people are about things the less resistance. People don’t like living in the question mark. Not knowing what will happen creates fear and resistance.

2) Communication — As you gain clarity about reality you gain choices. You start to think about what you can do to be solution focused. Shifting away from feeling like a victim. Openly communicating these findings helps remove uncertainty.

3) Choice — We choose the level of disruption we want to bring into our lives, and or organizations. Thus, we become the controller of our lives. We must keep our internal world as calm as possible. Remove emotional responses to what’s happening in the present or may happen, and be pragmatic.

4) Courage — Courage is acting up in spite of fear. It is about taking the first step while you are shaking in your boots. It is about doing that thing that is a little scary and uncomfortable but not completely terrifying. So, when we act in this manner we move into a position of control. Control removes uncertainty.

5) Confidence — When we place confidence in ourselves, we act. This gives us the opportunity to grow through experience. Sometimes we grow beyond our friends and family. In such a situation, we often face criticism from them because we no longer hold the persona that they like. 

“Those who truly love us are going to support us no matter how much we change or what we do in our lives.”

Look at change from a place of understanding what you can realistically take on and accept reality for what it is. Let go of what your aspirational truth of what you would like things to be. Be pragmatic. Accept reality.

Rita talks about how we can reduce uncertainty by controlling the controllable.

“Managing uncertainty is about reacting to what is happening instead of what could be happening.”

Usually, we go through change as we go through loss. First with denial and eventually with acceptance and moving on. It doesn’t have to be this way.

When we go through change in this manner, it shows we are stuck in the past. Though we must be grateful for our past we must remember that change does create new opportunities.

“Change gives us a second chance to do things that we always wanted to do.”

Managing change is more about controlling the controllable and investing our energy in it. It also leaves us with more energy to handle the unexpected.

When we don’t follow letting go, we find ourselves in this miserable middle where we don’t have what we have, and we no longer know what will replace it. At such times we must pay attention to our feelings as they would guide us to our redefined future.

Shared Vision for the Future

People see changes differently. Some embrace them as new opportunities and possibilities while for others, it is a struggle.

Therefore, change may impact a relationship in a negative way if both partners don’t share a common future.

For people in a relationship, it becomes imperative to understand the ripple effect of changes and find common ground to move into the future together.

Seek Adaptation Not Permanence

The human species seeks permanence, but it is adaptation that we must seek.

It is the willingness to accept change, to let go of the past, and to move forward with what we have in front of us that frees us from the pain of holding onto something that may never return.

Think of a nice wood log in a fire, it’s pretty to watch and produces warmth, but eventually it turns to ashes.

We often go through life wanting to put the ashes back together into the nice pretty warm wood log, but the log is gone. Managing through change is about looking for the new wood log and rekindling a new fire full of new wonder and new warmth.

“The more we accept change for what it is, the more certainty we will develop towards a brighter future.”

Check out the Rant & Grow podcast episode with Rita. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.

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