• Thrive Inc.

Dealing With Change In The New Hybrid World

We have experienced a tremendous amount of change in the last year, and many people are dealing with changes related to work, economic situations, and their personal lives. This week, we’re wrapping up our Beauty of Conflict for Teams series by focusing on change and the transition period that comes with it.

People need time to process change and what’s occurred, and everybody goes through the transition process at different speeds. It is important for organizations to realize this and support their employees through the change process accordingly.

Join us this week as we’re showing you how to process the change you may have gone through in the last year and sharing some tips to cope with change effectively. We share the three stages of transition and why it is a psychological reorientation, and how understanding this will help you to support yourself through change.

If you’d like us to speak at your organization about conflict, stress, team-building, or leadership, work with your team virtually, or coach you or leaders on your team, reach out to us!

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on iTunes. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Listen on Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify

Learn More:

  • How leaders can help employees process change and help them with transition.

  • What a transition deficit is and how to know if you’re experiencing it.

  • The four ‘R’s when it comes to change and why they are important.

  • How to support yourself through change.

  • What C.U.S.P is and how it can help you process change.

  • Why burnout is so prevalent and how to deal with it.


Full Transcript:

CrisMarie: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home and everywhere else in your life. I am CrisMarie.

Susan: And I'm Susan.

CrisMarie: We run a company called Thrive Inc, and we specialize in conflict resolution, stress management coaching and building strong, thriving teams and relationships both in person and virtually.

Susan: We are starting 2021 with a series based on our book, The Beauty of Conflict for Teams. We’ll be sharing tips, tools about how to make your team work more effectively especially in this remote and virtual environment. We hope you’ll walk away from this episode and this series with some fresh ideas that change your day, your week and even your life.

CrisMarie: Hi. I’m CrisMarie Campbell.

Susan: And I’m Susan Clarke.

CrisMarie: And we are wrapping up our Beauty of Conflict for Teams series based on our book The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team’s Competitive Advantage available on Amazon. And with a focus on change, we’re focusing on one of our later chapters, Chapter 28: Increase your ROI on Change. Because when I was working at Arthur Andersen I was tasked at helping CEOs who were implementing mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, implementing ERP systems.

And the biggest mistake these CEOs made was to be focusing only on the business or what we call the smart side of the project. And ignoring what we call the healthy or the human side of the project. And my job was to say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re not going to be successful. You’re going to throw money down the drain if you don’t bring these people along and have them embrace the change.” And that takes time and effort and focus. Don’t you think, Susan?

Susan: I totally agree CrisMarie. And right now this is maybe even more critical because as we all know, we’ve been going through a tremendous amount of changes in the last year. And just this past week Microsoft put out an article which we just love the title because it was so perfect, The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work. Are you ready?

CrisMarie: So, hybrid meaning, well some people are going to come back to the office and some people are going to be remote. And maybe there’ll even be a rotational process where you come in Monday, Tuesday like the kids at school, two days a week. And somebody else comes in two days a week.

Susan: Yes, this hybrid version for Microsoft and other tech companies has been happening in schools now for quite a while. And it’s interesting, that they are the test case. I have some questions about how that pans out. But anyway definitely we have been experiencing some version of either remote, hybrid, opening, reclosing, tremendous amount of change. And really if a company isn’t paying attention to this now there is going to be a lot of pain and suffering, both a lot of money that goes down the drain and a lot of suffering on the behalf of leaders and the employees.

CrisMarie: Yes. And this isn’t also happening in a vacuum. We’ve been having all these social justice issues, traumatic shootings, politics. We have been living through a really chaotic time. And so we want to talk a little bit about change and then also transition because change is when you’ve moved or you’ve changed a job. There is one day that you’re working at your old job and the next day you’re at the new job. Or you’re living in Seattle and you move to Montana like we did.

Susan: And I know CrisMarie it’s kind of funny because I think people think that this pandemic’s going to be like that. We closed now we’re reopening. And obviously that has not been the case either, even change has become not one static point, there has been, we opened then we closed, then we’ve reopened then we’ve closed.

CrisMarie: So there’s vacillating changes. But then there’s this internal process that people don’t necessarily, aren’t really cognitively aware of but it’s so important and it’s the transition. And the transition is your internal psychological reorientation to the new way. And that’s really tricky when you have all these different changes and they’re like you’re saying Susan, they’re going back and forth. And managing all that, you get into what we call a transition deficit, meaning how do I catch up with my own feelings about what’s been going on because a transition is a three step process.

Susan: Well, also you might want to add. I think the transition is the psychological aspect of change. So I just want to add that word because you were talking about what’s going on internally inside of me at that change moment.

CrisMarie: Yes, it’s that psychological reorientation.

Susan: You did say it. I’m sorry, CrisMarie, I may have interrupted you falsely. But I just…

CrisMarie: No worries. We’re really driving that home. Because the internal transition first is about endings because any change even a change that you like, like having a baby, something that you wanted has something that you’re losing. You no longer have your sleep at night it could be. So endings are really about sorting your losses and there could be losses of turf, status, meaning, attachment, identity. There’s many more but those are some key areas where we experience loss when something changes.

Susan: And even recognizing this current situation CrisMarie, there are all sorts of things. There’s dealing with the endings and the loss related to your work. There is related potentially to your economic situation. You may have lost loved ones. There are so many different aspects that we as a culture with a pandemic occurring are now all facing some version of this.

CrisMarie: Yeah. I mean even I lost an aunt during this timeframe and we couldn’t go home to her funeral because of what’s going on. And a neighbor lost her mother very early on and she’s a doctor. And she couldn’t go home to the funeral.

Susan: And these aren’t people both in these situations, neither was because of Covid but both still significant losses. There’s so much that has gone on in the world in the last 12 months a lot of which we may or may not have realized, or recognized, or dealt with the significant changes that have occurred.

CrisMarie: And part of that processing, recognizing that even a corporate change, people need to process. So all these bigger pieces or more personal pieces that are going on, these changes, people need to personally process. And everybody goes through a transition at a different rate. And some people, like when we moved to Montana, Susan tell me where I’m wrong but you were like, “Boom, I am home, I feel great.”

Susan: Yes. We moved from Seattle to Montana and I probably never really landed fully in Seattle because prior to that I had been on an island up in Canada. And so when I arrived in Seattle, I mean in Montana, it felt more at home to me than I had. Now, you on the other hand…

CrisMarie: I was lying when we went to clients, I’d say, “You know I still live in Seattle.” Not consciously actually, that was more – I just had that sense of home was Seattle for me. Because I don’t know if I gave you the three stages of transition, it starts with ending which is about actually feeling your feelings of grief and noticing what you’re losing and what you’re gaining, sorting that.

But also there is this neutral zone. There is this in between time where you’re not in the old way, you’re not in the new way and it can feel quite disorienting, productivity goes down. Even moving, I didn’t know where to get my hair cut, where do I get the oil changed in the car, all that takes more time to figure out.

Susan: You can share it too I hope that for maybe three years you kept going back to Seattle to get your hair cut.

CrisMarie: I know.

Susan: And I don’t think we drove the car back for the oil change but we actually left the car in Seattle so maybe we did. And now I mean I also just want to bring up…

CrisMarie: I didn’t say the third stage is the new beginning and that, so it’s ending neutral zone, new beginning. And that’s a time where you’re like I feel like myself again. I’ve got my energy back. I’m used to this and my productivity is back up.

Susan: And I think for some people this whole experience may have – maybe they’ve gone through it fairly quickly. But for the most part we have been in a kind of constant state of the neutral zone for a while now because even if we thought we were getting a new beginning, there’d be surges or something would happen. Or we’d have political issues or social injustice issues. And everything would be disrupted again.

So it really is important to recognize that for probably most of us, we’re still in some form of the neutral zone. So even if you run a business you’re still dealing with some of that as well.

CrisMarie: Yeah. Think about whether you’re running a business, you’re an employee, what have been all the different changes that you’ve had to grapple with during this past year, even during the last I’d say three or four months with it could be the election. It could be the kids changing their school rhythms, whether you’re on the same job or same project.

And what happens is normally when there is a change that’s occurring in the office it’s because we think okay, this change is going to help us be more productive. That’s why we’re putting in this new system. That’s why we’re reorganizing. But what leaders fail to notice is any time you make a change, productivity drops. And as people are trying to figure out, what’s going on and you can get stuck in what’s called the valley of despair. And that’s just, especially if leaders don’t help employees process through that change that’s when you can start to help people become more productive.

Susan: So right now CrisMarie in terms of, you know, I don’t know, it’s kind of tricky. Sometimes it can seem so much easier to look at the change. But because of the multitude of changes now it may be very difficult for leaders in organizations to really even begin to know how to support because one thing, it’s what they have to deal with related to the business. But people are at home and they’re dealing with their kids more, there isn’t the compartmentalization around work and life that we may have had at some other point.

And so it really becomes critical to not so much get definitive about what the change is or isn’t, but have conversations about change and how do you deal with change. And what is trusting that people are going to be able and willing to show up and talk about what they need.

CrisMarie: It’s true. I mean when we do change seminars with organizations that are going through a distinct change. We help people process through what actually is ending for them. Is it their meaning? Is their attachments because the people they are working with are changing or their identity, who they are as a person? And then we talk about what we call the four R’s which is how are you going to replace, redefine, reinvent your world or what do you need to relinquish? What do you need to just let go of?

And I’ll give you a story that helps me kind of, what do those four words mean and how do I actually apply that? When the let’s say the fires down in California took out a whole neighborhood. There are some people who they lost their whole home but they could replace it, they had insurance. The kids were still there so they built the exact same replica of the home and they could.

Other people their home burnt down and they were like, “You know what? The kids are gone, let’s remodel or redefine our home. We don’t need that big home so we’re going to do this.” And they’d come up with a redefinition of their home and they’d rebuild it. Some people’s home burnt down and they’re like, “You know what? We don’t need to stay in this neighborhood. Let’s get an expensive Winnebago and we’ll travel the world.” So they reinvented what home meant to them.

And other people who had no insurance they had to relinquish and let go and process through that loss of their home. So replace, redefine, reinvent and relinquish. And certainly with Covid the relinquishing of people that you’ve lost, you know income that has been lost because of the change in business.

Susan: Or maybe your business closed. Whether it’s your small business that you owned or a business you were a part of.

CrisMarie: I mean some people they replaced, maybe it was fine, like a nurse who worked at a hospital or a doctor.

Susan: They’re probably dealing more – they’re not dealing with the loss, they’re in the same job. But they may have a lot of grief related to the work they’ve done in the last year which has to be dealt with. But in terms of the job itself, yeah, it could just keep going. They may have had a very similar job.

CrisMarie: Redefine, I’ve talked to more than one person who is like, “You know what? Because I’m a remote worker and I still have my job, I’m going to redefine.” And they’ve bought a house in Arizona. They live up in Seattle. They spend half the year both places and they can. So they’ve redefined how they’re doing their work.

Susan: Reinventing, that’s kind of like what we had to do. We were going to clients and working very first hand with teams and things like that. And we’ve had to reinvent ourselves. Our focus now, yes, we still do the team work but we’ve done a lot more coaching of leaders. We’ve done a lot more stress related things for organizations and people. And we do a lot more of it from home.

CrisMarie: And yeah, the team sessions that we do, do are virtual and we’re taking teams through their strategic topics. And relinquish, I guess that would be even like what you’re saying not being able to go to funerals or see people that we have wanted.

Susan: Or people who had to let go of their business, they had to shutter it up and close it down. There is a lot of that I think for people who were in the restaurant industry, different places.

CrisMarie: I think about New York City, I’m not there but I can imagine all those small businesses that had those, you know, they’re all boarded closed. How could they survive a whole year with having to pay rent? What’s going to happen for those businesses?

Susan: There’s a lot of different stories about that. I remember here in Montana there was a lot of farmers had food resources which they could no longer send to restaurants and things like that. I mean the thing I remember is the story about the goat cheese. And there’s incredible goat cheese. But they actually found a way to work together.

CrisMarie: Well, let’s back up because I think there is a farmer that makes this very high end goat cheese here in Montana. And they had a great distribution channel to all these high end restaurants that no longer needed their goat cheese and so they found a new way.

Susan: Well, and some of that was that it was not just high end here in Montana.

CrisMarie: No, across the nation, yeah.

Susan: And they could no longer get the trucks in here, all sorts. So they did, I think where they actually made it available much more locally. They worked with other farmers to distribute it. And they kept themselves going as a result of this effort.

CrisMarie: And I think they got into natural food stores and sent it out that way. But they had to come up with new distribution channels lickety-split. Think about yourself and what have you had to replace, or redefine, or reinvent, or even relinquish about how you do your work, how you do your family, your relationships, anything in those categories.

Susan: I mean I also know, I mean because of all the things that have happened around social injustice, politics, things like that. I know families that have had major divides, and there’s a lot of loss in that. Are we going to get through this? And it is one of those things where the first step to even imagining getting through it is to identify what you have lost. And to really look at that and recognize without that willingness to name it, to acknowledge it, to feel it, it’s very hard to get to the next place.