Our current state is the one that we find most comfortable. It is the one we have worked all of our lives to obtain. It is the state in which we expend the most energy to maintain. Why? We understand it and what it means to us. Do we try to improve it? Yes. We always to try to make things better for ourselves, but these small changes normally do not dislodge us from the comfort and security of our current state. Do we want to leave it for something completely different and unknown? In most cases, the answer is no. We need to have a reason to leave the current state. We need to be dissatisfied with the current state. Even that may not be enough; often we will stay in our current state even when it is uncomfortable.
The desired state is the destination of the change. It's where we are going or being asked to go. It is unfamiliar and risky. It isn't fully defined. We don't know if we will be comfortable or happy there. We need to find out what is there for us. We need to find out what is there for us as individuals.
The delta state of change is the transition from the current state to the desired. This is the stress-building part of change. Concern starts to build when we learn of a change. It builds during the journey from the current state to the desired state. We need to know what will happen during the delta state. What will happen to us? What we will be required to do, learn, change, keep, let go, and when we will need to do these things. We want to know what support we will get along the way.
When we seek the answer to these questions, we should frame them in the four aspects of change. The change model we are using in this paper applies structure, process, people, and culture to each change state. If any one of these aspects changes, the other three will be affected.
Structure is the shape and infrastructure of the organization. It could be your enterprise, department, community, professional society, social club, or family. Any one of these organizational groups may be affected by changes in the others. The infrastructure is the physical and technological support needed by the organization.
Process is the way we work or get things done. It can be a strictly defined process on the factory floor or any activity within a group.
People explains the skill, knowledge, behaviors, and competencies needed to successfully achieve results. It defines the type of person who will be needed in the desired state.
Culture reflects the attitudes, beliefs, and values that cause us to behave the way we do. We are involved in many cultures and subcultures simultaneously. Culture is often required to change to achieve the desired state. Sometimes, the new culture will clash with our beliefs and values.
WE ARE ALL TARGETS
One of the great myths of organizational thought is that organizations are rational mechanisms. If the leader of the organization creates a strategy or implements an idea, the rest of the organization will follow, and the change will be completed successfully.
Enterprises are made up of people, people just like you and I. We are the targets of change and, in many cases, we are expected to be the ones who help the change happen as change agents. But we are also the targets of the change. And before we can act as a change agent, we need to overcome our target issues.
"Target" is a pretty serious word. It is an uncomfortable word to use. But I can't think of a more appropriate term that reflects the emotional impact of change on an individual.
Fear of change prevents us from dealing with the change. Evolutionary and biological psychologists have recognized that we react in ways that are based on early, embedded behavior patterns over 40,000 years old. The oldest portion of our brain, called the limbic region, controls these patterns. Some of their findings and what they mean to us are shown below.
• Emotions are the first screen for all information received. The limbic region of the brain intercepts our incoming information and interprets it from an emotional perspective first. This is one of the reasons I use the term "target." The limbic region presumes a "target" position. Emotion is our first response.
To Be Continued