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How to Leave No Man Behind When Change Hits

by Kelsey Stafford | Feb 10, 2017
Change and Innovation

It has become critical to be able to update or shift directions quickly based on new information in order to stay relevant and innovative in our fast paced world. While change can be good, constant change can be daunting on your employees. Jeffrey Schwartz, Pablo Gaito, and Doug Lennick took a closer look at how to reshape the way your employees think of change through the lens of neuroscience and behavioral research. They developed a virtuous cycle of focused values. The cycle provides six steps to help a company’s employees refocus attention on company goals and values to lessen the volatile response to the idea of change.

  1. Recognize the need for change: Recognize you’re in a rut and figure out how to get out of it. This step requires you to reflect on your thoughts, emotions and actions. Self-awareness brings individuals to the table.

  2. Relabel your reactions: Change the way you look at a situation by reframing it with the context of why the change is necessary. For example, the intent to do a better job helping clients, shifts the attention to the end goal and removes personal attachment.

  3. Reflect on your expectations and values: Dave Larson, recently retired executive president of Cargill said, “Leaders can either give energy to people or drain energy from people.” As a leader, by reinforcing goals and aspirations of the company every day you create a pattern for your employees to follow. Then when storms arise, you can maintain a steady ship by centering on those values. This is critical for the next step in the process.

  4. Refocus your behavior: Now that you have recognized the need for change, reframed its context, and established your expectations, it is time to bring your habits in line with your goal. Share how you feel, acknowledge how your employees must feel and then draw the conversation to solutions as you move forward.

  5. Respond with repetition: Accountability is key. Put the solutions determined in step four into practice and be sure to hold yourself and others accountable day-to-day. Each day is a new opportunity to start again. Don’t let one bad day ruin the progress of the week.

  6. Revalue your choices in real time: Encourage people to continue to evaluate their thoughts in the moment. By walking through this process, people’s automatic response changes and they begin to be able to weather a storm because the basis for decisions is company values instead of emotion.


If you can create a culture of refocusing attention from the fear of change to shared values, your company will naturally propel itself forward in efficiency.

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