Change Hinge: Finding Control in the Chaos

Liz Selzer - Friday, March 31, 2017


"I currently work in a company that is going through a big change and the process seems chaotic. How can I help my team move forward in the process instead of standing by and watching the change happen?"


As Margaret Mead wisely counsels: “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”


After going through the first step of understanding the very real losses that people feel when navigating a change, helping people find a sense of personal control in the chaos will help. Change will always be a part of life and our ability to move through it in a healthy way is critical. Understanding the change process and our ability to make choices in the midst of change will allow us to move through it and give us that element of control. This is true even if we did not choose the change.


During change, the point of critical choices people have the ability to make are the decisions to move forward, accept the change and identify what aspects they can control. If this decision is not made, people will stay in a very unhealthy place of loss, uncertainty and discomfort. Movement away from discomfort in the loss and toward the anticipation of what will happen as a result of the change hinges upon these choices. Accepting the change often requires a conscious choice to accept the change and move forward. It does not necessarily mean the person agrees with the change or thinks it is the best course.


However, the choice to accept the change does mean that the person is no longer at the mercy of the change. It means as they move through the change, they will investigate how the change can bolster what they are doing, how it may encourage them to grow in their leadership, and how it may stretch their understanding of their strengths. On the other hand, staying in limbo and indecision will do nothing for their understanding of the new work roles or the future success of their career.


Once we make the decision to accept the change, things begin to move in a positive direction:

-  There is a new energy as we begin to imagine how the change can be a part of our personal mission, leadership, and empowerment of our teams.

  • -  The components of the change are becoming clearer and the effects of the change are starting to materialize.
  • -  Our thoughts and actions are practical and applicable as we now navigate through the elements of the change with intentionality.
  • -  We can now see how it affects our common vision and goals, and how to become more productive as we move forward.


An understanding of the point of critical choice helps minimize the negative effects of the process, helps us see where we might get stuck, and helps us take control to keep moving through the process instead of getting mired in uncertainty and the very real discomfort of going through change.

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