Helping you mobilise your inner resources to achieve your dreams

The saying ‘old habits die hard’ is true. Change cannot happen overnight, as Prochaska shows…

unhappy employeesSnap decisions and half-hearted resolutions never work out. Changing something intrinsic in your life will need a serious amount of commitment and planning for its effect to remain. This is no more apparent than in the workplace: overnight, forced change will invite uproar. However, change can be implemented effectively and successfully.

Last week I talked about Bridges and Lewin’s psychometric testing and models of change, which are made up of three separate stages. In this post I’ll explore Prochaska’s change model. Although it details more distinct stages and it may take a little longer to implement as a psychometric tool, I believe it eradicates doubts and enforces commitment more effectively as a result.

Steps that aren’t even steps

If change is placed upon you, the instant reaction is of opposition. However, if you work through the change, less resistance is encountered and staff feel empowered and involved, which is why change models are used within the workplace so frequently.

Prochaska believes that the first step to change is not a true step at all, but one borne of pre-contemplation. Rather than discussing change itself and what must be different, the initial step looks to educate and research why change may be necessary at all. This involves dissecting current ways of working, such as its impact on others. What the process will change to is not even on the radar yet, just a reflection of what happens now.

Step One

Once the current system is evaluated, and flaws and successes identified, the first stage Prochaska advocates is contemplation. This explores the possibility of change and what may happen as a result, but equally, exploring what would happen if no change occurred. Objectivity is encouraged, to ascertain the outcome of either premise: to change or not to change.

Step Two

The second step involves planning and preparation. Although change may have been accepted as necessary, until now, few may have known what that change actually looked like. Imagery and visualisation is beneficial, so that those involved have no fear of the unknown; exploring potential pitfalls and obstacles before any are implemented is especially useful, as is visualising successful change and its impact. It’s useful, at this stage, to ask for feedback on a sliding scale, so that the strength of people’s opinions can be learned. If you receive more than seven out of ten against a question, this indicates a tipping point for action.

Step Three

Prochaska’s third step is the most active, where changes are implemented and the old ways of working are put aside. It’s imperative that any teething problems are dealt with so that staff feel that managers’ interest hasn’t waned. Support or tools should be introduced to help staff remember new processes.

Step Four

This involves maintenance, for at least six months after the changes have been made. Support is integral, to avoid bad/old habits resurfacing and the changes being lost, as is inviting feedback as to what works/doesn’t work.

Step Five

Prochaska’s final step, though it may seem intrinsic, should be recognised as a key stage in the process. happy managerTermination involves a conscious recognition that the changes have been made, at a point when it seems strange to imagine the old system of working. Though relapses may still happen, if change has been fully accepted, these will be short-lived and a blip within an otherwise effective process.

So you see, Prochaska’s is a spiral model, not linear. The overall process may take a long time as we loop back through previous stages.  .

There are questions you can ask – either of yourself or of your team members – which help accelerate change and boost team building by propelling to the next stage, or helping to prevent these loop backs. Contact me,  angela.sabin@executive-life-coaching,  if you’d like more details. Also get in touch if you’d like executive coaching or management coaching sessions.

Next week, I’ll be looking at our inner saboteurs, and on how well-meaning goals often become unstuck…

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