One thing we can be sure of: endless change. Just like the weather, nothing is set in stone. We can trust that, even when we face rain, the sun will always return. One does not exclude the other. We just need to be prepared and use the right umbrella. Let's look at how to manage change in a company with help of an umbrella.

Change is as constant as the weather is changing. And so we go through our everyday lives, consciously or unconsciously, with every dynamic step into omnipresent change. Today I would like to take you on a little journey of thought, through the rain. Consider taking an umbrella with you.

“Some things don’t change. And then there’s all the rest.”
Mirella Kreder

You may have read about key phases, stages, curves, pillars, principles, processes or methods of change management. They all provide meaning and content for what can be viewed as a collective term and concept. Today, however, I intend not to delve deeply into existing theories or principles. Instead, I want us to look beyond the mere concept.

Change management - navigating uncertain times

I remember moments when I was challenged to drive change, feared change, or fell victim to poorly managed change. But sometimes I was pleasantly surprised.

When I summarize the most important insights from my experiences, it comes down to very basic knowledge:

change management is an approach that aims to lead and navigate people meaningfully and sensibly through uncertainty (individually or as part of an organization).

At the same time, it demands that the organizational and technical framework be reconciled with strategy and communication, without underestimating the importance of soft skills and emotions.

Why is the change so difficult?

Address the comfort zone.

How critically we view change, how difficult it is for us to accept or adapt on an individual level depends heavily on our personal comfort zone. And from this, in turn, depends the difficulty of implementation.

Imagine you are walking down the street on a beautiful summer day. Suddenly and completely unexpectedly it starts to rain. Not a nice light warm summer rain. But the wild, uncontrolled pouring rain that pelts down on you like a wall. For some, this may be a great adventure. They will love the rain, get soaked and easily accept and adapt to the new and unexpected turn of events.

Some would even dance in the puddles with euphoria.

However, most of us would try to flee, take shelter and wait for the rain to stop. Some may be upset about their ruined outfit or makeup, others may be stressed because they can't go on as they originally planned. Those in a hurry run as fast as they can, hoping to get out of the rain sooner and less wet.

Then there are the forward-thinking, critical observers among us, the well-informed, who reckoned with it. The people who saw the weather forecast and could prepare themselves: They brought an umbrella.

After rain comes sunshine.

How can the idea of an umbrella help us manage change more effectively?

Think of change as raindrops falling on you, your organization, and your team. Now think of the collective term “change management” as an umbrella. Like all umbrellas, your change management umbrella consists of several sections.

Critical factors of successful change management

Think of these as critical factors in successfully managing change. Your umbrella should consist of the following 5 main sections to support you well. 

  • Preparation time
  • Strategic planning
  • Tools & technologies
  • Emotions & soft skills
  • Communication & information

It is important to emphasize here that all of these sections of your umbrella need to be well designed and smoothly matched to work well together as a whole.

Can you already imagine how it can help you, your team or your organization to feel more comfortable despite the rain and even see the sun?

Taking care of carrying an umbrella as a preventive measure can still force you out of an established comfort zone, it won't shield or protect you from change, but it will help you not get completely soaked and overwhelmed. It offers a newly created comfort zone to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed as you walk through the rain.

One size fits all?

Every drop of rain affects our organizations and our lives, and it happens differently for each of us. So please keep in mind the individuality of the people with and for whom you are implementing the change. We need to discover our own path, space and pace to deal with changes in our life and organization. Luckily, umbrellas don't just come in one size. Even if they are made from the same sections, the design, material and style can vary. It's up to you, your organization and your team to figure out how and then develop the right fit.

Sounds too complex? We're here for you.