I've been off-grid for a bit over a week. Among other events, I was a little preoccupied with the bittersweet pleasure of hosting family and supporting relatives after the recent passing of a respected matriarchal pillar in our family tree.
Ever the change management geek that I am, as everything was playing out over the past week, I couldn't help but think about the different phases people go through when confronted with negatively perceived change.
The version I'm showing above, of course, includes two or three more stages than the 5-stage model Dr. Kubler-Ross' outlined in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying." Though my rendition includes some accommodations for organizational change, which I wrote about in a previous post, the gist is the same: we're dealing with change.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, a few things revalidated themselves for me:
1. Everyone--everyone-- goes through the change curve. But, we traverse the curve at different rates.
2. At the point of our entry to the curve, we encounter others who entered the curve at an earlier time than we. This is important because if you've ever bumped into someone at a memorial service who struck you as "taking this better than you thought," it may not be because they're more or less sensitized than you. It may just be that they've had more time in the curve. Even if you're both at the same stage, they may have had more time to come to terms with the depth of the water, so to speak, at the stage that you're just beginning to venture into.
3. Because we enter the curve at different times (#2 above) and we traverse at different rates (#1), we encounter each other at different stages. This is important in its own right because it's not uncommon to encounter someone in a state of anger while you're still grappling with shock and denial. Just because another person comes off as angry doesn't mean it's you they're angry at. Keep the change curve in mind and prepare for what comes next... (depression). Sometimes, the strength of their anger may signal the depth of the next stage.
4. Don't skirt the changes. As perverse as it may seem, learn to welcome the manifestation of each stage. Don't try to get "around it". To get to Acceptance (eventually), we each have to experience some form Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression.
What do you think? Have you experienced a life or organizational change where people just seemed "out of sync" with each other? If yes, do you think there's any merit to folks bumping into each other while coping with the implications of their own (different) portion of the curve?