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5 Keys to Mindful Change Management

Five keys to mindful change management — and how to use them to manage organizational or personal change.



Managing change is a critical skill in today’s work environments. Whatever your job role or career goals may be, research continues to show that “everybody needs to be change-ready and change resilient if they want to be part of the contemporary workforce”[1]. In the last year, this has become more apparent than ever.

Mindfulness can help both individuals and organizations navigate the change process by building up specific skills to be more engaged, supportive, and resilient with change. In this blog post, we share the trending evolution toward a people-centric approach to change, along with five levers of mindful change management.

A People-Centric Approach to Change

To remain competitive in a global landscape of increasing complexity and constant innovation, today’s organizations must navigate change rapidly to keep pace with evolving market conditions[2]. And this means that individual employees in the organizations need to navigate change rapidly as well.[3]

Accordingly, change management today is focusing more than ever before on the people side of change. The latest approaches place the individual employee, rather than business costs and benefits, at the center of organizational change efforts. This updated perspective accounts better for the complex and varied individual responses to organizational change[4], and it ultimately helps organizations to be more efficient and effective at adapting to change.[5]

Organizational research is also beginning to distinguish between episodic change, which typically happens at a single point in time as a response to external circumstances and events, and continuous change, which is ongoing and motivated by internal factors[6]. Organizations are now shifting from a focus on outside-in, situation-driven episodic change, to a focus on inside-out, employee-driven continuous change. This approach requires an updated set of skills and competencies to successfully implement, support, and sustain change.

Levers for Mindful Change Management

Mindfulness can help to support this people-centric approach to change. We have identified five levers of mindful change management that encourage a more effective and compassionate approach to change, along with some suggestions for using them in the changes taking place in your own work and life.

  • Supportive Behaviors — Employee behaviors in the face of change can have a direct impact on the success of a change initiative. Some of the behaviors that best support change include proactive contributions and constructive resistance. Developing a proactive employee mindset and encouraging constructive resistance can help develop supportive change behaviors.


  • Positive Attitude — Positive attitude is a driver of successful change efforts[7] and can affect commitment to change. Positive employee attitude related to change is driven by an individual’s belief in their ability to manage what is happening around them[8] and change-related tasks[9]. Encouraging positive assessments of ability to deal effectively with change and change-related tasks can support more positive attitude and higher commitment to change.


  • Emotional Wellbeing — Emotions and mental processes play a critical role in managing change, both personally and in organizations. Change requires employees to evolve their mental models of how their organizational world operates. And research is revealing that understanding how to navigate emotions in a work setting generates a tangible return on investment, both for individuals and for the organization.[10] Supporting the emotional and mental processes surrounding change can ultimately lead to less lost productivity and a higher return on change activities.


  • Connection to the Organization — Research has also identified several ways in which employees demonstrate affinity and identification with their organizations. These connections can have a strong influence on the overall impact of change activity. Promoting employee connection to the organization can lead to shared goals and increased efforts for change success.


  • For the Greater Good — The prevailing attitude toward employee reactions to change is that people just want to know “What’s in it for me?” This traditional “WIFM” focus does not account for the complex nature of people’s reactions in the face of change.[11] Recent research has shown that employees often consider the implications of change events not only for themselves, but also for their direct colleagues, for the wider organization, and even for external stakeholders.[12] Considering impacts of change for additional stakeholders as well as employees can help promote overall support for change.


Leading Mindful Change Efforts

At WorkMinded, we believe that mindfulness can be an effective tool for supporting change outcomes. Mindfulness can develop specific skills and competencies to help individuals and organizations address these five levers of mindful change. We also offer specific tools and resources to help you take a more mindful approach to change management in your work and in your life.


We hope this post helps you to consider some of the factors behind taking a mindful approach to change. We’d love to hear your feedback! Email us at hello@workminded.net, or find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.



 


The intention of the information we share and post is for informational and promotional purposes only. Following and using any information or recommendation provided is at your own risk. See our full Terms & Conditions at www.WorkMinded.net!

 

[1] Jacobs, G., Keegan, A. (2018). Ethical Considerations and Change Recipients’ Reactions: ‘It’s Not All About Me’. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 73–90 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3311-7.

[2] Grady, V.M., Magda, B., & Grady, J.D. (2011). Organizational Change, Mental Models And Stability: Are They Mutually Exclusive Or Inextricably Linked? Organization Development Journal, 29(3), 9–22.

[3] Naude, M., Dickie, C., & Butler, B. (2012). Global Economic Crisis: Employee Responses and Practical Implications for Organizations. Organization Development Journal, 30(4), 9–25.

[4] Jacobs, G., Keegan, A. (2018). Ethical Considerations and Change Recipients’ Reactions: ‘It’s Not All About Me’. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 73–90 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3311-7.

[5] Grady, V.M., Magda, B., & Grady, J.D. (2011). Organizational Change, Mental Models And Stability: Are They Mutually Exclusive Or Inextricably Linked? Organization Development Journal, 29(3), 9–22.

[6] Wee, E. X. M. and Taylor, M. S. (2018). Attention to change: A multilevel theory on the process of emergent continuous organizational change. Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000261.

[7] Mäkikangas, A., Mauno, S., Selenko, E., & Kinnunen, U. (2019). Toward an understanding of a healthy organizational change process: A three-wave longitudinal study among university employees. International Journal of Stress Management, 26(2), 204–212. https://doi.org/10.1037/str0000059.

[8] Mäkikangas, A., Mauno, S., Selenko, E., & Kinnunen, U. (2019). Toward an understanding of a healthy organizational change process: A three-wave longitudinal study among university employees. International Journal of Stress Management, 26(2), 204–212. https://doi.org/10.1037/str0000059.

[9] Yang, Y., Choi, J.N., & Lee, K. (2018). Theory of Planned Behavior and Different Forms Of Organizational Change Behavior. Social Behavior and Personality, 46(10), 1657–1671. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6832.

[10] Ramos-Volz, Yvette. (2018). ‘Living Life in the Meantime’: An artsbased coaching model offering an alternative method of managing personal and professional change. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 16(1), 143–158. https://doi.org/10.24384/000474.

[11] Jacobs, G., Keegan, A. (2018). Ethical Considerations and Change Recipients’ Reactions: ‘It’s Not All About Me’. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 73–90 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3311-7.

[12] Jacobs, G., Keegan, A. (2018). Ethical Considerations and Change Recipients’ Reactions: ‘It’s Not All About Me’. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 73–90 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3311-7.

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