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  • Holly Burton-Aro, PE, PMP

Are You Managing Your Change Or Is It Managing You?

Updated: Aug 10


About a year ago I attended a lunch-time workshop on change management where they discussed the different phases of change management and how people respond to the change they are experiencing. I learned that there are 4 phases of emotions that people emote when responding to change, as shown in the figure below. It was also indicated that most people tend to spend most of their time during this process in the first two phases, which is denying the change and resisting the change.

Four Phases of Change Management

The key take away from the presentation was knowledge is power! Knowing how you and others may respond to change, allows you to managing the change management process to minimize and mitigate the time spent and the impact of the first two phases and also to increase the time spent on the last 2 phases.

As a small business owner, I have realized that change is a critical element of any business. Small businesses are especially prone to change, from the initial concept in your business plan to what your business is today to the day-to-day operation. Small business owners have to be adept at managing change and this is the only way to be successful in business. Therefore one of the key skill sets for any small business owner is the ability to manage change. It is critical for small business owners to effectively manage changes in their businesses in order to minimize their personal and personnel’s response to the first 2 phases and also maximizing the output/input from the last 2 phases.

As the saying goes “time is money”, and extending the time spent on the first two phases could be difference between (i) being the first and second business to launch a product or services in response to a new regulation; and/or (ii) losing a viable opportunity for your business.

Even when a change occurs that a business owner does not expect or has a negative impact, it is imperative to transition to the exploration phase to assess how you can make the most out of a negative situation or minimize the negative impact.

So the question for each small business owner is “Are You Managing Your Change Or Is It Managing You?”

Be willing to push through the denial and resistance that comes with change and embrace input through exploration and commitment!

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