by Michael Holland    

Change is happening all the time.  Modern theory on change tells us we will work through a fairly typical pattern of denial, despair, acceptance and then hopefully engagement with moving forward.  But it’s our visitation to the valley of despair segment that can cause the most consternation and how long someone stays in the valley of despair definitely impacts the intensity of their future engagement

Think of the change as traveling from one mountain top to another separated by a valley.  Your employees are standing together on the first mountain top looking towards the next mountain – the destination – but each of the employees sees the valley much differently.

  • A short hike down the grassy hill to the meadow in the valley.
  • A deep valley with a small river to cross.
  • An immense cliff with a class 5 rapid running through the distant valley below.

And there you are. . . almost summiting the new mountain yelling back to your team not to worry about the short climb as you gain energy and excitement with your healthy engagement of the new destination.

Is the rate at which a person can work through “change” directly proportional to the maturity of their leader?  Not entirely.  But great, mature leaders have learned to always carry some strong rope, know how to teach the art of rappelling down cliffs and that talking is much easier when you’re next to someone.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • There is a lot of metaphor in this Leadership Learning Moment. Look back at the three views of the valley described in the bullet points and try to work out what each one means in terms of change in the workplace.
  • What about the phrase, “…great, mature leaders have learned to always carry some strong rope, know how to teach the art of rappelling down cliffs, and understand that talking is much easier when you’re next to someone”? What does this mean to a leader guiding his team through change?