If a change is well planned, it can produce positive results. However, without planning, change can be hard to accept and appreciate.

The Kubler-Ross Model is the most reliable tool to understand change and the stages associated with it.

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Understanding the Kubler-Ross Change Curve

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The Kubler-Ross Model

The Kubler-Ross Model, also known as the five stages of grief, consists of the various levels of emotions that are experienced when facing trauma. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

After the model was widely accepted, it was found to be valid in a majority of cases and situations related to change.

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The Kubler-Ross Change Curve is also true when it comes to business, work, or employment.  

Change can cause a lot of upheaval to the employees. If there are improvements to be made in systems and policies, the employees can't persist in their old ways. Only when the employees of an organization make personal change, can the company move ahead to reap the benefits.

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  1. Denial: Shock or denial mark this stage and is usually short-lived. One may not believe what is happening. 
  2. Anger: When the realization hits and is understood, a person may become angry and look for a scapegoat. 
  3. Bargaining: When the anger subsides, one may start thinking about ways to postpone the inevitable and look for the best thing in the situation. 
  4. Depression: The person feels sadness, fear, regret, and guilt. They may reach a dead end where the road seems hopeless. 
  5. Acceptance: This is when people resign to the situation. It may not be a comfortable space, but the person may now move ahead with it.

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A reliable tool to understand what people are going through.

  • Stage 1: The employee will be in shock. They may need time to adjust. 
  • Stage 2: When the gravity of the situation settles in, workers may feel fear from what lies ahead, which may turn to anger and resentment. Clear communication and support should remain the focus at this level.
  • Stage 3: When employees understand that they must adapt, they may try to bargain with management, or learn as little as possible to adapt.  Don't rush employees to learn quickly or adjust fast.
  • Stage 4: The learning phase may be uncomfortable for employees and could result in low energies due to low morale. 
  • Stage 5: People finally start to embrace the change and start building new hopes and aspirations. 

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It demonstrates five ingredients needed for change.

  • Awareness: Awareness helps one understand why change is important and needed.
  • Desire: The desire to be a part of the change.
  • Knowledge: The desire is incomplete without knowing how change can be brought about.
  • Ability: All can be in vain if the individual does not have the ability to grow with it.
  • Reinforcement: This building block sustains the change.

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  1. Create: Establish a feeling of urgency or hurriedness towards change.
  2. Build: Formulate a guiding coalition.
  3. Form: Develop a strategy to bring about change. This requires having a plan and a vision.
  4. Enlist: One must now communicate or put forth the vision or strategy for change.
  5. Enable: Empower the employees to incorporate the changes.
  6. Generate: Formulate short-term goals and achieve them.
  7. Sustain: Capitalization of wins or gains in order to produce bigger results.
  8. Institute: Finally, incorporate new and better changes in the workplace culture.

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