Newsletter No 6. Febuary 2008

Welcome to the first issue of 2008! We didn’t get this newsletter out in January as we’d intended – but it’s in time for Chinese New Year AND the Tibetan New Year (called Losar) – so we can still say a Happy New Year to you all.

We continue our series on looking at change; last November we started with what could go wrong with change, and we will go on to look at things that you can do to ensure that the changes you are working with have a better chance at success and sustainability

In this issue we talk about how individuals deal with change and what this means when dealing with organisational change. It is important to understand how we – as individuals - deal with change and how we transition ourselves through the stages of change before we can think about leading others through change.

In this issue:

The LASA Team

Latest thinking

Being a Change Agent: Dealing with Change Positively

Before you can think about leading others through change, you need to be aware of how you approach the change yourself.  What do you do when faced with change?  How do you feel?  What is your Attitude to change?  How do you Behave?  How do you react?  What are the Consequences of your behaviour?  These are the ABC of handling change – Attitude, Behaviour and Consequences. 

How self aware are you in times of change?  Do you feel as if you are facing threats or opportunities?  Are you more upset or more pleased by what you are facing?  If you don’t know how you are feeling, you cannot begin to deal with it for yourself.  Once you understand what you are feeling – and your Attitude to that feeling, you can start to work with that, deciding what you are going to do (Behaviour) and what this can lead to (Consequence).  Then you can also begin to see the signs of how others are behaving so you can start to understand how they might feel (checking it out to see if you are right) and then manage your relationship to help them work with their own reactions to the particular change that is being faced.

The Process of Change

We find it helpful to have a model to look at – the Change Cycle.  A model is like a 2D map of what is happening and like a map, it is not ‘the territory’, but it can help you to pinpoint where you are.  It helps you to identify what stage of change you may be in - and then work out what moving forwards might be like and how you might do so.  Rosabeth Moss Canter said, “Change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us.”  What if we could take the change being ‘done to us’ and make it into something that is done by us?  By understanding the cycle of change and how you move through it,  you have a chance to do just that for yourself and to help others. 

There are several models ‘out there’ around what happens to people when they are faced with change; we find the one based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s Grief Cycle useful. 

The Grief Cycle

Grief is one of the most profound of human emotions particularly associated with death and loss.  Although all change is not as grave as losing someone close, the cycle of emotions we go through in grieving reflects the pattern of emotions often experienced in facing other changes.  Change can often appear to be some form of loss – whether it is loosing a job, losing stability, losing your ‘place’ – as in moving house of moving office etc.  Uncertainty stemming from the possibility of change can trigger the cycle of emotions by shaking the foundations of your ‘stable state’.

This can be shown in the chart below which indicates the roller-coaster ride of activity and passivity as the person twists and turns in their desperate efforts to avoid facing up to the change. 

The initial state before the cycle starts is received is known as ‘stable’, at least in terms of the subsequent reaction on hearing the bad news – and compared with the emotional ups and downs to come.

And then, into the calm of this relative paradise, a bombshell bursts...

Stages of Grief/Change Cycle

  • Shock Stage: Initial paralysis, ‘immobilisation’ - freezing at hearing the bad news.
  • Denial Stage You just can’t believe it. Trying to avoid the inevitable. It can’t be true. Maybe it is a bad dream and you’ll wake up.
  • Anger Stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.  It must be someone’s fault.
  • Bargaining Stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
  • Depression Stage: Final realisation of the inevitable.
  • Testing Stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
  • Acceptance Stage: Finally finding the way forward.

First you look at where you are.  This is not always easy as we tend to go round some parts in the cycle a few times before we find a way to move forward.  To move through the cycle, you can use questions (see Newsletter No. 4) to help yourself move from one stage to the next.  You don’t necessarily have to go through each stage although most people do. 

For instance, if you know that you are in the depression stage, come up with some questions that would focus you on searching for some realistic solutions. 

Let’s say you have been told you are to be made redundant, it’s a while since you were told, and you now know there is no way out (no mistake, no alternate role in the company and so on), you will have to leave your current company in a few weeks time.  You can start to change your feelings if you can focus on questions such as,

  • What could I do next?
  • What opportunities are there out there
  • What would I like to do?
  • What gives me energy and the moment (to look to do more of that) and what robs my energy at the moment (to look to do less of that)?

For another example, let us say that you’ve just moved house – perhaps you’re an empty nester and you’ve downsized – and you need to come to grips with less space, fewer rooms and different set up.  You’re angry – there isn’t enough place to put everything.  To move through to the next stage you could ask yourself questions like:

  • Remember why we made this move?  What benefits are there?
  • What is nice about this house?
  • What is better about this house that the other house didn’t have?
  • Who am I being when I try to blame someone?  Do I like who I am being?  Who would I like to be instead?

Just as there is a negative cycle of emotions experienced when you aren’t happy about the change, there is also a positive cycle. Not all people experience change as a bad thing: some people can see a benefit to a change, or they may just like change and experiencing something new.

Uninformed optimism

In the first stage of positive change, You are excited and intrigued by the change. It looks great and you can’t really see any down side.  You look forward to it with eagerness and anticipation, building a very positive and often overly-optimistic view, for example that it will be much easier for you and it resolve all of your current issues.

And for a time there is a 'honeymoon period', during which you are realy happy with the change. 

Informed pessimism

This doesn’t last, however, and the happiness diminishes as reality starts to set in. Things have not all fallen into place, other people have not magically become as cooperative as you expected, things are not as easy as you expected and in fact the current issues aren’t resolved.

This pushes you into a period of gloom when you realize that things aren’t going to work out as you had expected/hoped. You may grumble, but you don’t get as depressed as in the negative change cycle – although at this time, you could switch into that cycle.

Informed optimism

Then you start to accept reality and see the positive parts of the change and the potential that is there for you.  You start to make plans moving forward.


Eventually, you feel happy with the new environment and can move forward.  You may be happier, but at any rate, you are not unhappy and you feel you can work towards the potential that is possible in the new situation.

We believe that although you may not have a choice about what happens to you, you do have a choice about how you react to it and choice as to how you feel.  Do you agree that you can choose how you react and how you feel?  Do you think that the people you work with think they have choice in those respects?  It makes a difference in how you deal with change. 

The most debilitating and energy sapping part of change is when you feel that it is being done to you and there is nothing you can do.  If you search for what you can do, any little thing that you can do in the circumstances, you start to gain in self-esteem, to feel more as if you are in control (even if only just a little bit).  And it starts to be a little less unpleasant. 

Change will only work if an individual (that is YOU) chooses to change.  If someone chooses not to change, there isn’t much you, or your organisation, can do.  There is always a payoff for not changing too – what do you think it is for you?  And for others with whom you work?  Why might that make it difficult to shift people?  Is there any question you might ask to get people thinking? 

When you begin to understand yourself and how you feel about and deal with change, you can look at how to lead change in your organisation.

�Patricia Lustig, 2006

Latest Books

The Human Element:  Productivity, Self-Esteem and the Bottom Line

by Will Schutz 2005

This is a book for people who want to enhance self-awareness.  Will Schutz developed the FIRO-B questionnaire and this book brings together the work that Will Schutz did during his life time.  It speaks to us because he was also amazed and saddened by the amount of toxicity (pain and fear) he saw in organisations.  He felt that the ramifications of low self-esteem are enormous and his work was around how to help people to identify and raise their self-esteem.

The style is easy to follow and I found myself often in violent agreement.  As our newsletter on Emotional Intelligence suggested, he looks at knowing self and managing self before moving on to know others and manage the relationships with others.  His theory is that the self-esteem of members of an organisation has a direct impact on the bottom line.  I have only seen this in my experience, but he has research to back this up.  If you are interested in becoming more self aware, this is an excellent book to read.

IT Corner

Content Management Systems

One of the websites we are currently working on is being developed using a Content Management System. The owner can easily update site content themselves, creating new pages and editing existing ones. This provides a wysiwyg interface and although there a few concepts to become familiar with, once you've learned them it is as easy as using a word processor.

How do you know whether you should use a CMS or just a normal web site development? A CMS is initially more difficult to setup and it consumes more server resources both in memory and processor power so it may not be for you. But if you require a site to attract people back for return visits you need to offer dynamic content that should change frequently. No one is going to re-visit a site if it is the same as it was six weeks ago.

Even if you do not want a specifically dynamic site, if you want to add new material on a regular basis there is a good argument for going with a CMS, especially if the alternative is to use a web developer to update your pages.

Where a CMS really comes into its own is with the ease with which you can setup community sites. It has all the facilities for:

  • setting up forums,
  • allowing user comments on articles,
  • allowing users to see who else is a member
  • and to aid communication between like minded people.

So if you think you need a CMS or any advice on websites  why not give us a call?  We can help you to make the right decisions for your needs, advice is free.

Interesting Links

Flower Seed Photo – P.S. Hare, January 2008  Red fungus - Cotswolds

Latest News from LASA

  • Nic began work on a significant CMS system.
  • Tricia is currently going through the process of being made an Executive Fellow at Henley Management College and continues her work there in the area of Facilitation and organisational interventions.


"The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice."
George Eliot

"There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." Denis Waitley

"We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them."
Kahlil Gibran

"What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life."
Leo Buscaglia

"A man is happy so long as he choose to be happy."
A. Solzhenitsyn

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
William Jennings Bryan

"Happiness is not by chance, but by choice."
Jim Rohn

"I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime."
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
Neil Peart

"The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
Victor E. Frankl

"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
Henry Miller

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness."
James Thurber

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."
M. Scott Peck

"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves."
Mohandas K. Gandhi

"The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there."
Monica Baldwin

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle."
Thich Nhat Han

"May our heart's garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Joke corner


1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
“Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"If you break your legs don't come running to me."

LASA Website

If this interests you, there are other interesting resources on the LASA Insight website so why not take a look by going to

Comments and Feedback

If you have any comments or feedback on - or suggestions for - this newsletter then please email them to us  here

@Patricia Lustig 2008