Finding stability and courage in the constant winds of change
Are you in some form of a storm of change right now in your business? You’re not alone.
Many companies have been going through layoffs, re-organizations, and other significant disruptive workflow experiences. Businesses are at the mercy of today’s (and tomorrow’s) limited resources and socioeconomic and politically volatile environments.
Every company we’re working with is experiencing some form of change or transformation – some are heading into the storm, others are in one right now. Some have just passed through a storm but are bracing for the next one on the horizon.
How do you guide your team through these conditions with optimism, clarity, and unity?
The only constant is change
We live in a highly disruptive world – every day new features, systems, tools, and people are shifting our lives. Some disruptions are positive, and others challenge our moral assumptions and belief systems. New tools pop up to shake things up every day (Hi, ChatGPT, and Bard.)
Humans strive for comfort and stability, and finding stability in constant change can feel exhausting. But it is possible to train yourself and your team to thrive within tornado-level unpredictability.
Five stages of team development and growth
To begin to navigate a storm, it’s imperative to know where you and your team currently is within the five stages of team growth (developed by Six Sigma and connected with agile leadership).
Forming: A new team forms, surrounding a new project, a shared purpose, or a re-organization.
Storming: With the creation of a new team, there is a period when the environment feels unstable or “stormy.” People are nervously wondering: What does this mean for me? What is my role here?
Norming: The team’s dynamic begins to normalize. There is clarity with roles and responsibilities, and the team begins to get some wins under its belts in a more relaxed atmosphere. This is a challenging stage to get to, with changes happening so frequently!
Performing: With a solid structure, the team feels like, “We’ve got this!” As a leader, you’re hitting your stride, knowing how to best motivate and reward performances based on the individual.
Adjourning: Many events could necessitate the undoing of a team, and not all of them bad: A project completion, a re-org, people quitting, or getting re-assigned.
We’ve found this system has been extremely helpful tool to helping leaders understand their team’s dynamic and where there are within a change. The process can take days or months depending on the magnitude of the new element, system, process or person added or removed from a team.
Five ways to become a "Storm Chaser"
1) Accept there’s a storm and that you are in it. Identify and call out the conditions of the storm your team is in.
2) Know where you/your team is within the development journey above to identify what works and doesn’t work for your team relationships and systems.
3) Identify what stability is needed to power through the change. What conditions and outcomes do you want to create for you and your team?
4) How can you/your team step into causation with courage? Instead of feeling at the mercy of the storm, write down where you can take ownership to create stable conditions.
5) Have a bias to action. Focus on the top three to five priorities to lead into the storm.
Buckle your safety belt; the process can feel turbulent at times. There’s no getting around the “mother nature” of our current business climate. But where there is uncertainty and fear, there is always courage.
A powerful practice we adopt here at Be Courageous is that no matter what is happening, we say, “Where we are is exactly where we are meant to be.” Find the gift in the situation. Lean into the storm to find its center. You can take advantage of opportunities in the high winds around you.
In our experience coaching and consulting, we’ve noticed that most teams lately are having a hard time getting past the storm phase (because changes keep coming!)
Instead of denying or trying to run from a never-ending storm, a team should find stability within the storm.
Be Courageous believes in running into the stage of “storming” of change rather than away from it. We run toward and into the storm to understand what happens and guide others through it safely.Reach out; we are your storm-chasing guides!
Co-writer / Editor: Shannon Guyton