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Changeó Challenge and Innovation
by Andrew E. Schwartz

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What Individuals Experience During Times of Change

It is a fact of life today that in the modern world’s increasingly accelerated pace, change affects everyone. The choice we have is not whether to make changes in our life, but how to deal with and adjust to those that occur. Change can be exciting and challenging. It can also be frightening and may bring with it the feeling of having lost control. When faced with change, most of us feel some amount of stress, more than is healthy if the change is introduced too quickly or forced upon us. Managers can make the process of change easier for their employees when they understand how individuals react to change and how leadership profoundly affects the experience of change.

There are three factors that managers need to keep in mind to insure that their employees adjust to change successfully. The first two factors are usually under the control of the person directly responsible for guiding the process; the last factor would be important and helpful for the manager to know if possible. They are as follows:

1. Participation: Studies have shown that the degree to which people are actively involved in the change process usually depends on their ability to overcome resistance to the idea of change. In the same manner, the greater involvement people have in the change affecting them, the greater the likelihood of comfortable acceptance of their new circumstances.

2. Information: The more information people have about change taking place, the better they are able to understand and make the change work for them. One of the most anxiety causing characteristics of change is the instant knowledge gap it creates. The sooner people learn about the exact nature of their new situation, the sooner they will be able to regain a feeling of control and competence in the new environment.

3. The individual’s past experience with change: Knowing whether people tend to deny and avoid or accept and work through change can help determine the plans that need to be made to prepare them. Some individuals will require more time and support to adjust than others.


Andrew E. Schwartz, CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates of Boston, MA a comprehensive management training and professional development organization offering over 40 skills specific programs and practical solutions to today's business challenges.

Copyright, AE Schwartz & Associates. All rights reserved.
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