Management Articles


Heal Thy Pain (Part 2 of 2)

By: Patti Hathaway

Patti Hathaway, Certified Speaking Professional and author of 3 books, is known as The CHANGE AGENT. Her most recent book is Untying the 'Nots' of Change Before You're Fit to be Tied. Patti works with organizations who want to make change work and with those organizations who want to change their customer service culture. Patti provides customized keynotes and workshops. Contact Patti at 1-800-339-0973 or at her web-site: for information on her speaking services or to receive her complimentary e-mail newsletter.

Click here to read part 1.

In the last issue, we discussed the first two phases in the Cycle of Resistance, in this article we'll look at the final 2 phases.

In Phase 3: Heal the Pain, the focus is still on self and how the changes will affect me. But now, at least we are past "feeling" the pain and the focus on yesterday and are now beginning to look to the future and challenge for tomorrow. It is important to note that we are still on the bottom of the cycle and we are still dealing with pain.

One of the main things people experience in the "healing" phase is organizational chaos and indecisiveness. Indecisiveness in many organizations is what they call committees or task forces. The organization doesn't know exactly what the game plan is so they assign a committee to help them figure it out.

As we discussed earlier, many people just want their boss to tell them what "The Plan" is. In reality, there is no specific, concrete, well-defined, set-in-stone plan - particularly when it comes to defining the how-to's of the change that is being introduced. Most game plans are fluid in nature and may and will change as the needs dictate.

Time is an issue. This "car" is being built as it's moving along. Lack of preparation kills momentum. Staff crave information and are frustrated due to the lack of information.
-- Vice President of Customer Relations

What is critical in this phase is for you to give your input and ideas into the plan and for the management team to listen to your ideas and concerns about the plan. The second critical aspect of this phase is to learn to forgive those who have wronged you in the past so you can move into your future.

It's almost like a coach at half time giving the team information and revising the game plan prior to the second half of the game. Sometimes the strategy/game plan the coach originally designed doesn't work out in the real world. Effective team players need the strength and ability to give honest input from a front-line perspective. Why return to the game with a plan that you know will not work? (On my website is an article on how to provide feedback to your boss by "whining with purpose").

There is a force that somehow pushes us to choose the more difficult path whereby we can transcend the mire and muck into which we are often born. Despite all that resists the process, we do become better human beings.   -- M. Scott Peck

Eventually, people build enough trust in the leadership of their organization to consider committing themselves to  Phase 4: New Growth for Tomorrow. It means making a commitment to a not-exactly, non-specific, vague tomorrow. The best analogy for this final phase is marriage. For those of us who are married, how many of us really knew what marriage was going to be like before we got married? Very few of us. Yet most of us hopefully and willingly made our commitment to our spouse -- even with all the unknowns. Does this mean that every single day we absolutely love and adore our spouse? Hardly.

I once heard a well-known evangelist interviewed about his 50+ year marriage to his wife. He was asked the question if he and his wife ever discussed divorce. Without hesitation, he replied, Divorce no, murder yes.  I think I'm in good company and so are you. Even though we love our spouse, we may not absolutely like them all the time.

The same is true with your organization. When you make the commitment to New Growth for your organization and their vision for tomorrow, it doesn't mean you will always like what's going on in your organization or the direction they are headed. But, it also doesn't mean you are any less committed to the organization. I believe commitment is a gift you give yourself because riding the fence and wavering with your commitment only means you're prolonging an inevitable fall in marriage and in your organizational life!

I made complete job change. I can now see the plan come together, we can advocate for our clients and make the new planning system a true reality. Now when we see the glass half-full, we can assist with filling it up. It has opened our minds to new avenues.
Primary Service Coordinator

How would our world be different if we were all 100% committed to our marriages? How would your organization be different if all its employees were all 100% committed to the success of your organization? It would be much more difficult to fail. When you only give part of yourself to success in your job, you are asking for failure. It means constantly updating your resume and looking for other options. Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but it still needs to be mowed over there. If you think you're going to leave your current organization for a less tumultuous organization, in most cases, you will be in for a rude awakening. Change in organizations is the norm, not the exception nowadays. Instead of leaving your current organization, consider learning how to effectively cope with change and you will learn skills that will last you for a lifetime.

There are too many people praying for mountains of difficulty to be removed, when what they really need is courage to climb them.

Click here to read part 1.

© Copyright 1999 The CHANGE AGENT.

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