Navigating Change: Understanding Kübler’s Change Curve

Have you heard of the Kübler’s Change Curve? It’s a model that describes the stages of emotional reactions people go through when faced with change. As CoCo’s journey continues, we’re excited about the changes to our brand, structure and service offering. This got us thinking about change, and the relevance the change curve has in modern leadership. It’s an ‘oldie but goodie’!   

 So what exactly is the Kübler’s Change Curve?  

It was developed by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the 1960s to explain the stages of grief that people go through after experiencing a loss. But later, it was found that the same stages could be applied to any kind of change. The model consists of five stages: denial, resistance, exploration, commitment, and acceptance. 

 Denial is the shock and disbelief that change is happening. People might say things like, “This can’t be happening,” or “This is a mistake.” In the workplace, this could happen when employees are informed about a major restructuring or a shift in company direction. 

 Resistance is when people start to feel angry, frustrated, or anxious about the change. They might resist the change or push back against it. In the workplace, this could manifest as employees complaining, slowing down work, or actively sabotaging the change. 

 Exploration is figuring out what the change means for the individual. The person might start asking questions, seeking information, and trying to understand the new situation. In the workplace, this could manifest as employees attending training sessions or seeking feedback from managers. 

 Commitment is when people start to accept the change and commit to making it work. They might start to see the benefits of the change and feel more optimistic about the future. In the workplace, this could manifest as employees working together to implement the change and offering suggestions to improve the process. 

 Finally, the fifth stage, acceptance is when the change has been fully accepted and people have moved on from their previous state. They might start to see the change as an opportunity for growth and development. In the workplace, this could manifest as employees fully embracing the new way of doing things and feeling motivated to work towards achieving the new goals. 

Now, you might be wondering why this model is relevant to modern leadership. Well, let me tell you, change is a constant in today’s fast-paced business world. Whether it’s a new technology, a change in company culture, or a shift in market trends, leaders need to be able to navigate change and help their teams through it. 

By understanding the different stages of emotional reactions people go through during change, leaders can anticipate and address concerns, provide necessary resources, and create an environment that encourages exploration and commitment. Leaders who can navigate change successfully can create a more productive, engaged, and motivated team, which can help their organisation to thrive.  

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