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Organizational Change Management

Long Live the Change Curve. The Change Curve Is Dead.

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As an Organizational Change practitioner, I am hard-pressed to come up with a visual for the “Journey of Change” that doesn’t make me cringe.

Most existing visuals start with the words “denial” or “shock,” Why is that? It’s because they leverage Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief which she developed to define the different emotions patients go through after being told they have a terminal illness!

So, why would we apply this same construct to the emotions people experience when their organization is going through a significant change? It makes no sense.  If you told me that my cumbersome, frustrating, and time-consuming way of entering my expenses would change to a more automated and intuitive interface, my initial response would probably lean towards optimism and gratitude. But denial and shock? I think not.

I invite everyone to ditch the “death” visual and its attendant negativity and replace it with something more positive. I suggest setting a more optimistic context for positioning change: how about “Awareness, Curiosity, Adoption, Commitment”?

Of course, some skepticism and resistance will happen along the way (or we wouldn’t have jobs), but please, let’s keep the assumed doom and gloom as a sidebar. Or at least a separate slide.

I’d love to know if anyone else has a Change Curve that is not so dire and misdirected.

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Susan Wiener

Susan Wiener is a Director in Perficient’s Organizational Change Management practice. Her approach is more to Enable Change than Manage it.

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