Change, on whatever scale, can be a difficult adjustment. In a corporate setting, this makes situations like mergers or culture shifts more difficult to implement as those within the business struggle to hold on to what they are used to.
What appears as fear of change stems from a basic human need. The tendency to cling to what we know relaxes when we feel respected and supported as a human being. When we feel seen. By providing what is truly needed by the individuals involved, change is more easily managed.
As merger coaches have discovered, there are several steps that can be taken to allow team members to get the support they need. Here is one you can implement for yourself.
I strongly suggest convening a transformation group. This is a group of peers who support each other to grow as leaders and people. Typically, a transformation group comprises 6-10 people who meet once a month for 3 hours. That is enough time for everyone to share an update and for two people to take an hour each with the group to explore an issue pertinent to their personal and professional development.
The format for exploring an issue has the following four steps:
Step 1: INQUIRE (15 mins). Person frames the exploration. What is the crux of the issue? Clarifying questions are asked by group and answered by person exploring, no discussion.
Step 2: EMPATHIZE (20 mins). Group shares related experiences. Emotions, memories, learnings. Use first person, past tense as in: “Your issue reminds me of [my experience] when I felt [emotion] and my learning was…” Refrain from advice. Person exploring just listens.
Step 3: SUPPORT (15 mins). Each speaks to value their gift: The qualities I see emerging in you are… Offer resources that might be helpful.
Step 4: CHALLENGE (10 mins). Person exploring shares takeaways. Moderator asks person for an action they are willing to commit to. Person chooses accountability partner from the group to assist with follow thorough.
For the “inquire” step, encourage the group to be curious. Play detective and look for the inner feelings, not just the outer circumstance. What about this this situation makes it uniquely challenging for this person? For the “empathize” step, make an emotional connection by going deep in yourself to find the most poignant experiences from your own life. For the “support” step, practice giving praise that is uncomfortably generous. For the “challenge” step, focus on an action that invites the person to express their best qualities.
If you would like to coordinate your own transformation group, click here for the sample format. You can also choose to use the Numina app or have a skilled facilitator convene your group.