Better Choices, Better Outcomes

Managing People Through Change

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said, “Change is the only constant in life.”

At a time when we hope that the rate of change will settle, it seems to be speeding up, with more surprises around every corner.

However, if we take a proactive approach to managing change with our teams, we can help them get to a better place and get used to the fact that change is constant and something we need not fear.

For things to get better, for improvement to take place, this requires change.

In life and in nature, cycles of change happen daily and throughout the seasons.

It’s often not the change itself that makes people nervous and anxious; it’s when change is not anticipated, happens as a surprise or is a shock, that emotions can kick in and make the transition challenging to understand and accept.

As with most things in business and psychology, there are processes that can help us.

The diagram below illustrates very well the roller coaster ride of emotions, understanding, adaptation and ultimately acceptance that can occur for most of us through the process of change.

Our role as leaders, is to help people see that the status quo is not an option, to paint a picture of the future and show a pathway to get there.  We must understand that every person is unique and should be allowed to experience their own version of their current reality.  This reality is based entirely on their own perceptions, fears, and emotions.  We should expect resistance, so be prepared to listen, support and coach people around the obstacles and towards an understanding that the change is a good idea.  The grip that fear has on them, will loosen and they will be free to adapt, to try doing things differently and accept that change is good and hopefully, be looking out for opportunities to change more, for the better, in the future.

Remember to share your vision of the future, tell them what your just told them and just when you think you are done, tell them again and accept questions to gain an understanding every step of the way.  The aim is to have a team of willing participants reach the future state who are ready to take the next opportunity for change, when they see it.

Ian Featherstone is a cabinetmaker, machinist, business advisor, mentor and leadership coach, and the owner of Glass Half Full. He specialises in the construction industry, particularly the joinery & cabinetry sector. For more information or to find out how you can move your team forward, please visit