The change cycle highlights the six stages that typically accompany change:
Stage 1 follows immediately after change has taken place. It is characterised by feelings of loss and fear. Those affected by the change are likely to feel paralysed and disempowered by the change that has taken place.
Stage 2 is a period of negative thought and doubt. Individuals tend to feel resentful of the change that has occurred and they will actively resist embracing the change around them.
Stage 3 is a passive stage characterised by feelings of anxiety and discomfort. Those affected by the change are likely to be unproductive and feel as if they are powerless to determine the outcome of events. The danger zone in the change cycle lies between stages three and four. Change management is essential to ensure that individuals make the transition from stage three to stage four.
Stage 4 signals a shift to positive thinking surrounding change. A creative atmosphere surfaces and participants are likely to feel energised and excited about new possibilities.
Stage 5 brings greater understanding of the change process. Productive behaviour returns and participants feel greater confidence about the change that has occured.
Stage 6 refers to the final integration of change into the new way of working. Because participants understand the necessity of the change that has taken place, there is a feeling of satisfaction and a commitment to ensure full integration.
* Diagram source: SMC Group