Mindfulness and managing change
The only constant in life is change. We have heard it many times before and yet way too often we don’t like certain changes in our environment. Changes for the better like a pay rise, absolutely please bring them on! Changes perceived for worse not so much. Right?
Change touches our head, as we need to understand the change. Change touches our heart, we need to embrace it emotionally. Change touches our hands, the action or response to change. There are approximately 70 cm, from our head to our hands, and yet it can be the longest journey in the human body. Why is that? One could say that it’s quite simple to understand change with the head, but it’s not easy to understand it with the heart. In the 1960’s, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross explained the grieving process as a method of helping people understand their reactions to significant change. By the 1980’s the so-called change curve based on Kubler-Ross model was a firm fixture in change management circles. The change curve, and its associated emotions, can be used to predict how performance performance is likely to be affected by the announcement and subsequent implementation of a significant change. Understanding this process can help us understand our responses to change
The practice of mindfulness touches the head, the heart and the hands. One of my favourite definitions of mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. The use of mindfulness encourages awareness (head, heart) and involvement (hands). Paraphrasing Viktor Frankl, between any type of change in our environment and our response to it, there is a space. In that space lies our power and ability to choose our response. Mindfulness helps cultivate that space. It can be used as a unique change management technique that helps shifting our perceptions and attitudes about the change we are going through at the workplace. Neuroscience shows that practicing mindfulness help us build resilience to change and it reduces stress. Not only is this beneficial at the individual level but also the increased productivity and wellbeing can positively impact the change outcomes in organisations. Sometimes the best change management methodologies are not enough to help people through a change. In such cases, developing personal internal strength and resiliency contributes to a more resilient business environment.
Let’s not forget what Charles Darwin once said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”