Managing change – Acceptance and moving forward

November 25th, 2015


To me, this stage means different things depending on the type of change. In business / work situations, it is often time bound by the organisation and there is a certain amount of having to put up with the situation, accept it and then move into the “new” processes / systems / environment. In many cases, it is possible to be able to draw on and retain what was good before, including the people and showing value for their knowledge, skills and experience. It becomes a nostalgic recognition of the past without the constant cry to go back to it.

However, I’ve depicted  “moving forwards” with a break in the line as it is often so new and different that people feel that there is a break or a gap, not just a continuous movement.

Business change

If you are going through such events, can you identify when you:
* look back with “those elements were good, I wonder if we can keep them?”
* realise that there were also “those elements which weren’t good and we’re better off without them”
* can see how the new processes / systems / environment are fit for purpose – often as other things have changed in your sector or the business world in general
* you can see more advantages than disadvantages in the new ways
* your negative thoughts and feelings reduce and dissipate
* you can see others accepting and moving forwards … without a sense of betrayal

Personal changes
For personal tragedies and life-changing experiences, acceptance is about realising and knowing full well that this event has happened and that, most likely, those involved and affected will not be the same. Moving forwards is often a real break with something past.

The points above apply here, although the timescale is usually more individual and personal. However, be aware of those who say things like “it’s too soon for …” Or the other end of the scale “you need to move on”.

Many support groups are run by those who have been through the same type of experience, often with little or no training and, while well-meaning are not always the best support for some people. Just because someone has had the same tragedy, does not mean they will experience all the same emotions and certainly not in the same depth or timescale.

We probably all know someone who seems to be stuck for years dealing with “something” and no-one else can make them move on. Maybe they haven’t had the right support or maybe they have seemingly decided they want to stay where they are. It can be difficult for those around them to let them do this particularly if the person who is “stuck” or “suffering” removes themselves from the social circles. However, they probably need all the support and friends they can find – don’t give up on them.

And, if you are being that supportive friend, be careful what you say and how you say it. As someone I know put it, “If I want advice, I’ll ask for it. I don’t want it given to me.” Another simply said “No-one knows how I feel; I wish they’d stop saying they do”.

What can I do?

I work with business change projects, helping leaders to anticipate the stages their colleagues will go through and how to help this, in the context of the project. Managing these emotions at work, where they’re often least expected, is as important – get in touch if you are involved with a business project. If there’s any kind of change, these issues will be there ….

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