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Change Management Staying positive and productive during difficult times.

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Presentation on theme: "Change Management Staying positive and productive during difficult times."— Presentation transcript:

1 Change Management Staying positive and productive during difficult times

2 Structure of the Course THIS COURSE IS A BIT LONGER THAN MOST OFFERED BY G&A – As a result, we have structured it in two, two-hour units: UNIT 1: Change, Stress, and You UNIT 2: Taking Charge & Reasserting Control

3 PART 1: Change, Stress, and You

4 It’s not just you. Change = stress. EVEN GOOD CHANGE. This has long been recognized – there is something called “anomie” that accompanies most change (Durkheim, 1897/1968) You don’t really know what the new ‘rules’ are Even if you want the change, the new routine isn’t routine yet The norms of behavior we rely on are comforting – and when they are not there it causes anxiety

5 Job Change is Especially Likely to Bring Stress! It is the nature of work: we do it to support ourselves, part of our self-concept is tied up in ‘what we do,’ and we spend the bulk of our waking lives there. It’s not surprising that the workplace is one of the biggest sources of stress that people experience – and that job stress is common. According to NIOSH, job stress “results when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker.” (“Stress at Work” p. 6) Do you think that the current job market and economic climate contribute to stress in general and job stress in particular?

6 DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF CHANGE- AVOIDANT OR CHANGE-SEEKING? WHY? DISCUSSION:

7 Types of Stress – ‘Feel’ POSITIVE STRESS (“eustress”), aka “being pumped” NEGATIVE STRESS (“distress,” what most folks think of as “stress”) NEUTRAL STRESS (“neustress”) The effect of the stress, e.g. how damaging and unpleasant, largely a matter of perception & framing.  THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS.

8 Types of Stress - Duration Stress can also be typed by how suddenly it comes on, and how long it lasts (see SAMHSA “Stress and Stress Management”) * ACUTE stress: quick, in the moment, from what is happening or from anticipation, easily resolved * EPISODIC ACUTE stress: acute stress that occurs over and over; can become damaging and harm relationships, impact health * CHRONIC stress: Damaging to health (physical and mental), ongoing, may be overlooked because can come to feel ‘normal’ * PTSD: this is a clinical diagnosis of ongoing stress related to a traumatic event. This type of stress is a special topic, and as such is not covered by this workshop.

9 Change and Stress: Never an “Isolated” Stressor One “stressor event” is like a pebble thrown into water Stress in one arena of life tends to reverberate into others Consider: your house is broken into. What is affected by this? Consider: Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public (worksheet exercise)

10 SELF-ASSESSMENT: STRESSOR SCALE

11 Stressors Don’t Just Sit There, They Pile Up STRESSOR PILEUP: A growing feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope, which occurs when residual stress from the last crisis plus new stress from the current crisis combine. Can you think of a time that you have experienced stressor pileup? What types of stresses seem to linger, and which resolve more easily?

12 Tipping the Scales MORE stressful – Unexpected – Your ‘fault’ (actual or perceived) – Unknown duration of event – Little to no control over outcome LESS stressful – Saw it coming – Blameless – Clear cause – Known duration – Control over course and outcome of event

13 Helplessness and Control “Locus of Control”: In a nutshell, Locus of Control (or LoC) refers to where a person believes the control for their circumstances is located. OUTER LoC: you are reactive, moved by outside forces, have little to no control, HIGH STRESS situation INNER LoC: you are proactive, aware of and adaptive to outside forces but not helpess, use what control you have, REDUCED STRESS situation

14 The Pressure to “Just do something” Can feel pressure to do something in order to be productive, proactive Taking action can stave off feelings of helplessness Acting without plan, however, can complicate outcomes During transition time, break down tasks by level of necessity and impact

15 Necessity and Impact +IMPACT-+IMPACT-

16 PART 2: Taking Charge and Reasserting Control When we feel COMPETENT, PREPARED, and CAPABLE, our stress goes down!

17 Manage Change & Reduce Stress Involved Reciprocal – if you address the stress you are better equipped to manage the change, and if you manage the change it will reduce stress Extremes of stress can cause a variety of symptoms and dysfunctions that you do not want, including: back pain, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, lack of energy, headaches, sleeping difficulties, stomach trouble, irritability/poor temper, and self-esteem issues. (National Women’s Health Information Center, 2010) You’ll not only feel happier, you’ll likely feel healthier as your stress level comes down

18 Take Charge!: Staying Positive Link between depression and inactivity has been established – feeling helpless, trapped, stuck, or out of control can be very detrimental to mood. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, solving even small issues or problems can contribute to a feeling of competence, which then boosts self-esteem, which then will come around again and make you feel more competent – it’s a positive cycle!

19 The “13 Things” Technique developed by Yeager (2009) to break larger, daunting tasks down into very small and manageable unit. Sometimes the number thirteen is seen as unlucky – but if you do the “13 Things,” you may find that you feel more positive when you’re done!

20 Reframing Change as Opportunity Some aspects of change may resist ‘reframing’ – if you become ill, for instance, there are parts of the experience which you may be unable to find something ‘good’ about. However, in most times of change, there are also windows of opportunity that open…… …………and you do have the ability to control SOME aspects of your situation, if you look more closely.

21 Think “ACE IT” When you are confronted with a period of change, if you ACE IT, you may find that you cross the finish line with better prospects than you had before! Accept Contain Evaluate Innovate Take Care

22 ACCEPT It is natural to feel a mix of emotions during periods of change – even if you wanted the change that is happening! Fear, anger, excitement, anxiety, worry, uncertainty, and so forth all may occur HOWEVER: try not to get ‘stuck’ in one mode of feeling, especially in a mode that positions you as ‘victim’ or ‘helpless’: – Bitterness, anger, resentment at what has been ‘done to you’ are counterproductive to your adjustment

23 CONTAIN Establish firm boundaries as possible Set aside “worrying time” AVOID those people and situations that trigger the worst of the stress Say ‘no’ to new things that fall under the category of ‘must’ rather than ‘want to’ – not everything that SEEMS required actually is!

24 EVALUATE Stress and the newness of change may increase your temptation to give up, slack off, procrastinate, and phone it in – but you don’t want to do this If you stay engaged, even though it is stressful, you can decide where to trim your stressors What tasks can be delegated? What tasks can be completely eliminated? What issues or problems can be potentially resolved via polite and honest communication? Can you restructure your time to group tasks and free up leisure time?

25 INNOVATE It is often easier to decide how to proceed when we have the control for outcomes available When we perceive (accurately or not!) that ‘locus of control’ is external, e.g., that we don’t have much say in how things go and what the results will be, it can be tricky to figure out how to proceed KEY is to rethink these items that are outside of your control -- are there COMPONENTS or pieces of these that you can affect? Small changes can pay big dividends in terms of stress and confidence!

26 TAKE CARE During a stressful transition, you may feel less like taking care of yourself than usual – but it is more important than ever ROUTINE CONTRIBUTES TO HEALTH! – Get 8 – 9 hours of sleep – Stretch: you may be tense but not realize it – Eat regularly, and your regular fare as much as possible – Take time for yourself Don’t waste the time ‘vegging’ though or you may feel twice as stressed & upset (unless is really what you want to do) Make lists of things to do, by time and/or resources needed

27 Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out It may seem strange to think about in these terms, but people are also a resource to draw upon If you start burning out your friends, keep a journal Have non-venting time with friends and family Be willing to accept help Be tolerant of advice – to a point

28 To Recap During change, it is natural and ‘normal’ to experience a variety of emotions – both pleasant and not Change often causes stress, even when the change is one we wanted Not all stresses are equal, there are different types of stresses Stress contributes to a host of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms You are not helpless during periods of change, though you may be limited in your responses You can reframe change as opportunity Locus of control is critical in managing the stress of change – what is internal? External? Take charge – ACE IT! Keep up healthy routines and positive social connections

29 References Durkheim, Emile (1897/1968). Suicide: A Study in Sociology. New York: The Free Press. “Choose Your Response for Better Stress Relief.” Online publication of the Mayo Clinic. “Stress and Your Health.” Online publication of National Women’s Health Information Center, Department of Health and Human Services. “Stress and Stress Management.” Online publication of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Health and Human Services. “Stress at Work.” DHHS- NIOSH publication # “Stress: Win Control Over the Stress in Your life.” Online publication of the Mayo Clinic. Yeager, Erica Owens (2009). “Thirteen Things.” Online correspondence (unpublished). Most images from Microsoft Clip Art. “Don’t question me” puppy image found via roflposters at and happy woman picture from stockxchng.com photo credit user “godoflite”


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