TinyEYE: Supporting Change
In Dr. Chris Bart's book, A Tale of Two Employees, he outlines simple steps to inspiring people to do what you need them to do. Inspired, I have applied the tips to supporting change. In my interpretation, people struggle with change when:
1. They do not know what to do
2. They do not know why they should do it
3. They don't know how to do it
4. They don't know that they should care
5. They don't get it
Caroll Spence, a health care advisor and inspirational speaker, has likened the change process to that of grief:
1. Denial (This isn't happening - this won't happen - we can do without!)
2. Anger (Why is this happening to me? - I don't like this.)
3. Bargaining (I'll take on more responsibilities if ...)
4. Depression (I don't care anymore - whatever.)
5. Acceptance (I'm ready!)
I believe people find comfort in knowledge. People may innocently think, "What does this mean for me - what will I have to do - how will I know what to do?" They may look to you, as the person who is introducing the new idea, for direction as to how they should feel. More often than not, if they see you feel good about this solution, they will more quickly follow suit. However, if they see you appear nervous and doubtful, they will have more reason to fear and resist change. In one community, a suggested explanation that was paired with the introduction of the service during a staff meeting was:
We have collaborated with a service provider who has partnered with us to ensure that no child is left behind due to our temporary shortage of staff. Through this service, our teachers and assistants will access consistent coaching from speech-language pathologists and our students will access regular therapy programming to advance them towards their goals. This is an effective approach to maintaining our excellent support services in this community.
There will be questions. Questions are a beautiful part of change because it shows that people are working on assimilating their knowledge with a new concept. Often questions bring out great ideas! When it is time for you to tell your staff about a change, consider this recipe:
1. Problem:State the problem (no speech-language pathologist), the length of the problem (an entire school year for these kids), and what else has been attempted to solve the problem.
2. The Point of the Problem: Answer the "So what?" question. Why is this problem a problem? (For me, it comes down to the quality of life for the kids who are in need of services - how long is long enough for them to wait? Wouldn't it feel so good to execute a plan that focuses on student outcomes - a better tomorrow?)
3. Strategy: How did you stumble upon the solution?
4. Solution:Define the circle of care that will be incorporated into your community.
5. Support: Demonstrate how the solution has been strongly considered and is now supported because it will strengthen the services for the school.
6. Reality: Tell your team that there are many built-in supports for a seamless transition into the partnership. Should challenges arise, you are well prepared and supported for overcoming them.
Chat: Save time to respond to questions and share information. Let the listener know that you value their questions and input. "We may not have all the answers, but it is great to have these questions. We can grow from here."
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of of Speech Therapy
TinyEYE Therapy Services (Speech Therapy Telepractice)