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The Neuroscience of Change

Everyone goes through seasonal changes in their lives: jobs, leadership, homes, marital status, loss, tragedies, or choices. How our brain processes change to cope is essential for mental health. The best methods to move on and succeed are critical for starting a new job, career, or leadership position.

Change is paramount as it guides us to retain that vital edge over competitors. Metamorphosis is an exciting process that promotes innovation, develops skills, and leads to more profitable business opportunities. Self-change is difficult, but it is not impossible to accomplish. The experience does not need to be traumatic, either.

The feeling encompassing change is that it is inevitable and necessary. However, you can successfully achieve the results you desire. If organizations fail to remain clear about their objectives or communicate the plan to their team, issues will arise from the outset.

Applying Neuroscience to Change Management

How one processes the mental aspects of their life is complex. However, many studies have identified four stages of change resistance and offer ways that leaders can address them. So when you are processing your thoughts and feeling, it helps you understand why you might be feeling or thinking the way you are in the moment.

While the process is written in a linear fashion of stages 1 -4, remember processing change does not always occur linearly. Your awareness of your current place in the process might even be in stage 3.

The essential component is bringing awareness to where you are in the moment.

Stage 1: Denial

Employees deny a need for change and try to prove that the new method or solution won't work. Leaders should approach this stage with what might seem like excessive communication. Creating a vision for the future is essential, as maximizing face-to-face communication and reiterating everything at least ten times.

Do not just send out an email announcement. It would help if you had a dialogue with others. Think of this stage as a marketing campaign in which you must sell the idea.

Stage 2: Anger

Employees complain, become bitter, and blame others. Leaders should brace the storm by having an empathetic ear. People need the ability to vent. Even if the leader does not consider every complaint seriously, allowing people to approach and speak openly fosters trust and openness.

Stage 3: Exploring

Employees try to negotiate favorable outcomes and offer alternatives to the proposed solution. Leaders should facilitate involvement in the project and encourage employees to provide constructive suggestions. Leaders will recognize when this stage begins because employees will complain less and focus more on optimizing the solution.

Stage 4: Acceptance

Accepting the change is necessary to engage with the new solutions or processes. Leaders should reward employees for their dedication and acceptance and recognize the change initiative's success through ROI, anecdotal evidence, etc. Leaders should also look ahead to future improvements on the change that has been implemented.

All Behaviors Are Complex

Research by psychologists has repeatedly observed change occurs in stages. The division of each portion needs us to dive further into different aspects of the thought processes. The increased probability of success in changing our thinking process occurs through examinations and actions.

You can break down almost all behaviors. Therefore, you can separate your desired behavior into smaller, self-contained units. Here I will provide you with ten examples of how things might experience.

Change Is Frightening

We oppose change, but dread of the unknown can force us to cling to our status quo behaviors. No matter how badly we do not want to behave in a specific manner. Personal differences, loss, divorce, promotion, moving, or becoming an empty nester invokes the fear of the unknown.

Compare all potential consequences of both your status quo and preferred behaviors. If more positive results are associated with the new behavior, your fears of the unknown are unwarranted.