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Surviving a Big Change and Continuing to Thrive



Taking on a new role, learning a new skill, or simply being placed in a new environment can be tricky. Nobody wants to feel stuck or overwhelmed by all the unknown that comes with a change. We like new challenges, but it’s never fun to be bogged down by a steep learning curve while never making tangible progress. If adapting to change bugs you as much as it should, then here are some helpful resources to help you navigate that feeling of frustration: A simple answer to learning to succeed in today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) environment is to plan for these challenges thoroughly and early.

Key Components for Managing Complex Change

Vision | Everyone likes a clear picture of an end-state and a solid rationale behind a change. It helps create awareness and lays a strong foundation for navigating the change curve with a positive mindset.

Skills | Successful change often requires building new skills and developing new capabilities through training. The infrastructure of the change—from new platforms to refreshed processes to new ways of working across the organization—must be well-built so that the leaders and teams impacted by a change can be adequately equipped to achieve their goals and objectives.

Incentives | By nature, most people prefer what is known, safe, easy, and comfortable. Creating momentum for change requires the right incentive to overcome the barriers. It encourages people to see the value of change and take action. People need to understand 1) how the change will add value to the business and 2) the benefits they will enjoy in making the change (WIIFM) – e.g., intrinsic value or tangible rewards for reaching targets. 

Resources | Teams need to know where to get help or guidance when they feel stuck during a change. Providing the right help and information will help promote and reinforce the change. Think of these as the tools that will assist people in adopting the change and sticking with it. 

Action Plan | A roadmap that outlines the course of action and provides a clear pathway with steps toward reaching a goal. It also helps people visualize the entire journey ahead. Extra attention may be given to certain stages to ensure the change is managed correctly and gaps are closed. A clear plan will also help celebrate milestones, course correct when needed, and enable a team to cross the finish line together in the journey toward sustainable outcomes.

If you or your team is facing a complex change, which of these elements are most relevant to your current situation?
What commitment will you make to your team moving forward?

Enroll in IOD’s Organization Development and Change Management Programs today to learn how you can help clients lead change successfully and increase organization effectiveness. Click here to learn more.

About the Author

Winnie Lee is currently the HR Organizational Effectiveness Director at a healthcare system headquartered on the West Coast. Leading up to this role, she has served in a variety of positions focusing on improving business performance, culture, processes, analytics, and decision-making for strategic and operational initiatives. Winnie lives in Northern California with her husband and two teenage children. Outside of work, she is always on the lookout for something new she can learn and enjoys spending quality time with her family. 

Winnie is an active member of the Global  Institute of Organization Development Network. Become a member today to enjoy more opportunities for continuous learning, meet OD Professionals and Industry Leaders, build upon OD Knowledge,  review OD Material, read monthly newsletters, access the membership directory, and more! Click here to learn more.


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