Crisis always brings change. The waves of transition start to rise and fall almost immediately after we experience a crisis.
The first time I traveled using only a GPS, I just about lost my mind. Hearing the play-by-play directions without being able to see the whole map created insecurity and mistrust about whether or not I was headed in the right direction…especially after the construction detours and missed turns. I needed a map…a big picture that showed where I came from, where I was going, and all the space in between. I probably also needed to trust my GPS!
Have you felt like that during these times of pandemic and social upheaval? Have you ever felt like you needed a map? Have you been at a loss for clarity? At a loss for direction? Feeling like everything is out of context and floating in the messy middle?
I have. And it’s hard. And guess what? It’s also entirely normal. None of us knows exactly what the “new normal” will look like, but we do know that there will be one.
What feels like the messy middle is actually the work of creating that new normal.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross spent her career studying loss. She also created the “Kübler-Ross Change Curve”. In her framework, she explained that there is a natural progression of transition from crisis to new normal – a sort of roadmap – that has 7 mile-markers of emotion along the way. (You may recognize some of these emotions from her “5 Stages of Grief” framework.)
She learned that although people move from shock all the way to acceptance on their journey of change, their experience is not always linear. Sometimes new shockwaves start the cycle all over again, or sometimes a person moves from stage 5 (experiment) to stage 2 (denial) and then into stage 4 (depression) before moving up and out of the curve into stage 7 (integration).
This 7 phase “change map” is not going to solve all the confidence issues we face in crisis leadership, but the framework provides these three key tools to successfully navigate change:
1. CONTEXT: Understanding the beginning, middle and end of the change process tends to ground us. We don’t feel quite as scattered and unmotivated because we have more clarity.
2. VOCABULARY: When you share this framework with those you lead, it opens up a new conversation around the experience of change. When you can “speak the same language” you can maximize communication and increase productivity.
3. HOPE: When you see change as a process, you no longer have to view crisis as an enemy or thief. Instead you can embrace its transformative power because it’s ultimately producing growth.
As you grow more confident in crisis, who knows, maybe you will be the voice with the map on someone else’s “crisis GPS” helping them lead with more confidence!
Start your journey here:
- Ask yourself: Where am I personally on the 7 phase change curve today? Where do I want to be?
- Invite conversation: Share the change curve with someone you lead and ask, “Where do you see yourself today? Where do you want to be?”
- Download the free guide: “7 Steps to Effectively Navigate Change” and start moving yourself through.
As you think about the changes you are currently navigating, what was most helpful in this article for your situation?
Share your thoughts in the comments section.