Gathering

GatheringOver at The Daily Post, the theme for this week’s weekly photo challenge is posed by Krista, who asks us to document a gathering and share our interpretation of it.

Consider the different ways we can think about the word; Gathering as in material things we can see and touch. Gathering as in knowledge or information we get from various sources. Gathering as in symbolic ritual like celebrations or at places of worship. Gathering as in shared experiences like school plays or concerts. Gathering as in complex systems, where everything is related to everything else. Many may argue that there are interdependencies and that we can’t refer to one type of gathering without taking into account all the others.

Regardless of the kind of “gathering” we refer to, each person gets to decide which definition (singularly and collectively) is the most important to them.

In life, we gather things that we don’t get to take with us when we leave this world.

At work, we gather reports and data. We gather at meetings or to network.

In change management, gatherings are significant because they are considered as a type of symbolic ritual that can help bring a group of people together and move them through transition, from one stage to another.

In communities, we gather to celebrate, to educate, to worship, to grieve, and to share experiences.

Mentally we gather knowledge and information.

Emotionally we gather our thoughts.

At home, we gather as families to make sense of this world. We come together to teach, learn, share, grieve, grow, pray, laugh and to love. We create memories and meaningful experiences that leave legacies.

Do your organizations use the concept of “gathering” as a symbolic tool to move people through change? My wish for you; may your gatherings bring significance to whatever is important in your personal and professional lives.

Please feel free to share your thoughts below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Ritual, Change and Weisbord’s Future Search Conference

Change_Management_Strategy_RitualOrganizational change creates unavoidable uncertainty, resistance and chaos. Systems thinking can help in identifying negative consequences and to achieve positive outcomes. But the impact of transformation requires looking at people, groups and the larger system[1]. By taking this approach, organizations can build change coalitions with employees at all levels. In times of uncertainty it is essential that everyone has the opportunity to provide input and feel empowered to make decisions.[2]

Formal rites of passage or rituals are important and often an overlooked tool to overcome these challenges. Rituals build culture, strengthen relationships and are particularly important for acknowledging challenges, celebrating wins or forging new paths. In times of change, stakeholders often need a way to declare it is time to say goodbye to the old way of doing things because there is no turning back. The idea of farewell as a process can pave the path towards embracing a shared vision for moving forward. Future Search Conference is one example of a tool that can help to successfully facilitate this process.

 

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Transition – Defining “Between”

Transitions - Adapting to ChangeToday’s post is about “between,” which comes in many forms. It made me consider the various ways we process and deal with change. Regardless of its application (professional, emotional or personal), the techniques for recognizing and approaching transition differs for each of us.

Sometimes it flows and feels natural, as captured in the photo for this post. A young man who is between testing for his next belt level in karate and receiving a new status because he is ready and has done the work. He has practiced learning the movement and techniques with precision and accuracy, and he knows that along with his sense of accomplishment come confidence and the long term rewards that follow.

In graduate school, we are taught that we should expect resistance when it comes to change in the workplace. The opposition is a natural part of the process during transformation and frequently rears its head when people do not understand why change is necessary, or there is not consistent support, repetition, and communication of the messaging.

OD experts explain there are symbolic rituals necessary for organizational change that brings everyone along, so they feel as though they are part of the process and have input to the outcome. It is a blueprint that incorporates the right guidance systems so human capital can collectively take a step back, acknowledge their current reality, say goodbye to the old way of doing things while working together to build a future. [1] (Kanter, 2008) The change will be more successful when all stakeholders understand their roles, contribution, and call to action.

In our personal lives, navigating transition is more complex because not everyone is given the coping mechanisms for recognizing and dealing with change in healthy ways.

When it comes to how we work through a transformation as individuals, there are times when we need to sit with discomfort and uncertainty for a bit as part of our reflection. Often our experience can provide answers and this world is one full of endless possibilities. Although there is a school of thought that might agree it is easier to give help than to ask for it, leveraging our support system is a resource we cannot ignore.

Discomfort is healthy when it motivates us to use our courage and move towards something better. A transition can be the beginning of something exciting and new that will provide opportunities to grow, learn, unlearn, re-think, re-learn, heal, innovate and re-invent.

Awareness of our own resistance to change could come in the form of anxiety, physical discomfort, fear, anger, sadness, insecurities, etc. In time, we learn the best way to overcome any of that is to get input, learn from it and then practice new behaviors until they feel normal.

Someone I know spent a great deal of time trying to work through a process like this. He shared what worked for him while he was struggling. His solutions are below.

Write down the following and reflect on the questions below, one at a time:

  1. “Yes, this change is hard.” (Make a list of what makes it hard for you)
  2. “How can I objectively examine the pros and cons of this situation?
  3. What part of my fear is getting in the way?
  4. How can this experience be my teacher?
  5. What can I do to move forward?

Once those issues had been examined, he found a trusted source to share it with that we will call “his people.” The ones he knew would not judge, give uninvited advice, or try to fix him or the situation. A trusted resource who would just listen. “His people” are the ones who have earned the right to hear his stories. It took practice, but it was amazing to see how the consistency of repeating the action over and over helped him grow.

So if you are finding yourself “between” something and are feeling in transition, perhaps his process could work for you as well. And who knows, you just may be happy you did. Thanks for visiting my blog, share your story or ask questions below, I’d love to hear from you!

[1] Kanter, R.M. (2008). Transforming giants. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 43-52.

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The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Prompt. Danielle Hark of Broken Light Collective challenges us to photograph between. This week, capture something between two things, reflect on the process of transition, or interpret this word in your own way.

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