The Four Phases of Change on Your Personal Leadership Journey

The Four Phases of Change on Your Personal Leadership Journey

True change has very little in common with the flick of a light switch (or winning an election).
 

Yes, the light goes on, but it goes off just as easily – there is no stickiness or real shift. It’s just on, off, on, off. True change is much more like a journey. When you know the phases of change, you can bring awareness to where you’re currently stuck and make conscious choices to continue to move forward.

What if you’re instigating a career change or moving overseas or your organization was acquired? Even more relevant for so many now is moving forward when your candidate lost the election? Certainly, the answer is not to just roll over with passive acceptance. You can and must empower yourself to navigate your personal leadership journey through the change and use it as a catalyst for transformation.

I’ve been a change practitioner for over 20 years and strongly believe that there are things you can do to accelerate your personal change journey through each of the phases of change. Like all journeys, the change journey begins and ends with you moving. Body, heart, mind and soul all need to make the shift. 

The Four Phases of Change on Your Personal Leadership Journey
 

Phase One: Physical
 

This is where it all starts – you make a move either by choice or a force outside of your control.

This is the easiest shift to make regardless of logistical complexity. In this phase, you’re moving from point A to point B.

My client moved from the suburbs to the City to double down on his commitment not only to his day job, but also his passion as a photographer of people in urban settings.

Another client’s company was acquired, and she had to leave her comfortable office she’d been working out of for years into a shared space.

Yet another had to reschedule countless meetings and immediately travel home to be with her father in the last days of his life.

Make the Leap Tip:

A to B can have a zillion details to juggle. Put them all on a checklist and work through it.

Phase Two: Emotional
 

Change is rarely easy even when you ace the logistics. You will likely feel a sense of loss regardless if you’re moving towards something wonderful or facing an unplanned tribulation.

There’s no need to push down the emotions that keep bubbling up during your change. You need to feel them and engage with them before you can let them go and move forward. It’s also essential to identify the core of the emotion. What is it about the change that’s leading to the most upset? Often, the heart of the emotional distress is masked or suppressed. Other times, the cause is clear. The bottom line is that smart leaders are unafraid to get to what’s underneath.

Coming face-to-face with emotion may make you feel weak or stupid or less masterful because it’s outside of your safety zone. So what? It’s essential for you to reframe that thought. Emotions are the heartbeat of life. 

My client Jackie was a seasoned executive on her way from Senior Director to Vice President. We worked together to accelerate her success and promotion timeline.

A week prior to our scheduled call, Jackie found out that her son had an illness that would require ongoing care. True to form, she quickly put a plan in place but at the office was struggling to maintain her focus. She was also short tempered with her team which was out of character; they were driving her nuts. Jackie realized that her team didn’t dramatically shift their performance in a week but that something else was happening with her.

At the start of our session, Jackie asked if we could talk about something personal, her son. For our hour together she worked through the rawness of her son’s new reality and was able to begin to assimilate her feelings.  Almost immediately she was able to take a deep breath and get back on track with her critical work projects too.

Jackie was not a corporate zombie, but a leader with a full life. In her effort to segment, she stopped herself from accepting her child’s health issue and was unable to remain on target at work. As I often tell clients, half a person can’t be a whole leader.

Make the Leap Tip:

Take a beat and find a trusted advisor, mentor, coach or friend and be with the emotions you’re experiencing – the whole crazy messy lot of them. Emotions indicate aliveness and a human rawness. If you don’t want to talk it through, write about your emotions in a journal. Getting to the root of your emotional distress puts you in control instead of at emotion’s whim. You choose how, but get the feelings on the table instead of packed way in a suitcase and stored in a closet only to be reopened days, weeks or months later.

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Alli Polin
Personal Development
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Alli Polin, CPCC, ACC, is a former senior executive with deep experience in leadership, change management, and organization development. Now a writer, coach, and speaker, she ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, April 17-21, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!


1. Market Keeping You up at Night? Look for the Right Hedge


Like so many others in the industry, I was wrong. For years, I was certain that the bull market was nearing its end. I thought the market was over-extended, and that, surely, the wild equities run was coming to an end. But everyone else was bullish, and perhaps rightfully so. And while I’ve watched equities continue on their spectacular rise, I do think now is the time (really!) to put a hedge in place. Here’s why. Here’s how. — Adam Patti

2. How to Manage Bond Market Pain and Seek the Gain When Rates Are Rising


The realities for fixed income investors have changed. How is this being reflected in markets? Bond investing has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. Markets have been heavily distorted by ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as by extreme risk aversion in response to the global economic crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. — Nick Gartside

3. Seven Reasons You'll Fail as a Financial Advisor


Is being a financial advisor worth it? I am an optimistic person and I encourage other people to keep a positive mental attitude (shout-out to Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone). However, by taking a good, hard look at the negatives in life, we can successfully pivot towards the positive aspects that will help us achieve our goals. — James Pollard

4. The Secret to Turning Every Prospect into a Client


How do you treat one of your most valued, existing clients? Here’s a list of some things that come to mind. — Andrew Sobel

5. Why Do Clients Change Advisors?


According to many advisors I speak with, the only clients that leave are those who have died. And while attrition may not be a big problem in this industry, I have to assume that at least a few clients change advisors without doing so via the funeral home. — Julie Littlechild

6. Why You Should Focus on Getting Referral Sources


I was talking with an advisor last week about how to get into conversations about what he does. He was relaying the story of going jogging with a friend who could be a good client but is, more importantly, connected to a large network of people who fit this advisors ideal client description. — Stephen Wershing

7. How Big Picture Thinkers Seize More Opportunities in 7 Steps


Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate. — Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini

8. 5 Actions to Build Your Reputation


Your reputation is who you are and how you show up, Monday to Monday®.  Many of us take our image and reputation for granted.  Give careful thought to the kind of reputation that you would be proud of Monday to Monday® and that would resonate with your purpose and priorities. — Stacey Hanke

9. How Are You Poised to Begin Welcoming GenZ to Your Workplace?


The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. — Shirley Engelmeier

10. Are Price Objections REALLY Price Objections?


Next time you hear your prospects give you price objections, it’s not because of the price. The give price objections because they don’t know the full value proposition that they’d be paying for. And it’s not based on their need, or your features and functions. It’s based on the buying criteria they want to meet internally. — Sofia Carter

11. Understanding the Economic Value of Transition Deals


Last week we wrote about the economic rationale behind going independent vs. moving to another major firm as an employee. As a follow-up topic, we thought it prudent to analyze transition packages attached to big firm moves and peel back the layers of the onion to show the components of these deals. — Louis Diamond

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio