May 22 –
American Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first developed her “five stages of grief” model based on her observations of people suffering from terminal illness. She later expanded her theory to apply to any form of catastrophic personal loss, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, major rejection, etc. Is it possible that this very same model can be experienced during a WFM software change?
Some Workforce Management teams around the world would say they have in fact faced this challenge. Let’s take a look at the 5 stages and see how many you can relate to:
- Denial – Sometimes ideas take years to come to be in the business world. Sometimes ideas never come to fruition at all. A hope can arise that the plan for change withers away.
- Anger – “Whose idea was this anyway?! Nothing was broken – why are we trying to fix it?” It’s natural for humans to resist change. A mob mentality is an easy trap to fall into.
- Bargaining – Maybe we can keep our old system. Yeah! – We’ll make it work. Can we delay this new system, you know, maybe for just a few da…wee…mon…years?
- Depression – Well, it’s going to happen. Woe is me. This is so much work. We have to import data and finagle so much to get this to be as close to our old system as possible.
- Acceptance – We have a business to run. We have a workforce to manage. Change is inevitable, so you might as well prepare yourselves.
Have you seen similar behavior at your company? Many of us have. When you “live inside” a particular software for a while, you get comfortable. You know what buttons to push to get the task done. You might have the blinders on, ignoring other options for the sake of avoiding going through the learning process all over again. Fear can be expected for major changes, but it’s important to push through.
Obviously it would be ideal to bypass the “bad” stages, and get to acceptance as quickly as possible. So how do you do that? Staying positive is key. Develop a vision of what you want to accomplish, stay flexible on your journey, and embrace the changes along the way.
Also, do not forget to communicate. Keep an open forum for all parties involved, and start this as early as possible. Getting buy-in before implementation can definitely expedite the passage through the 5 stages. Talk things through and understand that some people may have gripes that need to be addressed. Getting everyone on board – getting them to Acceptance – is huge for the transition and will reduce a lot of the turbulence.
Note: This week’s tip provided by Justin Franks of Navy Federal Credit Union. He may be reached at Justin_franks@navyfederal.org.
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