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The Emotional Roller Coaster

The video delves into the intricacies of change management, portraying it as a dual process—above and below the waterline. Above, the visible realm involves meticulous planning, charts, and schedules, encapsulating the hard aspects managed by consulting firms. Conversely, beneath lies the unseen human system, active during change, often ignored. The narrative likens this dichotomy to Newtonian physics and the quantum field, emphasizing predictability above and the unpredictable “soft stuff” below. It unfolds the emotional roller coaster within individuals during change, illustrating phases from shock to commitment. Ultimately, the video advocates not only altering organizational charts but also focusing on changing hearts for successful change implementation.


The emotional roller coaster. This is what happens to people inside during a change process. This is the way changes are usually planned by the experts. Here’s where we are now. That’s where we’re going to be at some point in the future. We have steps one, two, three, and four. We move very smoothly across there. We have PowerPoint slides. We have schedules. It’s all based on terms of budgets and synergies and organizational charts, benchmarks, and so forth. We have flow charts, tracking system progress reports. This is the hard stuff of the change. This is what many consulting firms are brought in to help with, and they’re very, very good at it. Let’s create a process to make sure that you cover all your bases when you go through the change process. Now this is what happens, however, when the change is begun, you have what we just talked about is what I call above the waterline. There’s a waterline that exists in every change process. Actually, it’s in life in general. Above the waterline, you have the operational world, the hard stuff. This is the Newtonian world of physics. This is where the plan exists, where the budgets exist, where the organization chart exists, where all the steps in the process, the PowerPoint slides, all the things that have to be done really, really well for the change to take place. What is sometimes forgotten, however, is that below the waterline there are human beings, there are people, there are departments, there are units, there are levels. There’s this human system that exists below the waterline, which is interacting all the time in order to get this work done.

It was there before the change was started. It’s going to be there after the change happens, and it’s going to be really active during the change process. Coming to grips with what happens above the waterline. This is the quantum field. As soon as you turn that plan over to human beings, it goes from Newtonian physics into the quantum field of probability. Above the waterline, you have predictability. Step one. Step two below the waterline. Who knows, maybe people will do it. Maybe they. Maybe they won’t. This is often called the soft stuff. If this is called the hard stuff, this is often called the tough stuff. My good friend Bob Crosby says no, no, no. He says the hard stuff is relatively easy. It’s the soft stuff that’s really hard. So we say no. He calls it the tough stuff. So whenever a change occurs, you have things going on above the waterline and below the waterline. This is relatively easy. This is really tough. Why? Because this is what’s happening inside the system and inside the human beings. Let’s take a look what happens inside the human beings in this process. This is the roller coaster. It is a line of how intense the expression of the emotions are. This is the kind of the current state. This is where everything starts, and time goes along the bottom. A major change is announced over here. What happens next? Shock. Numbness. You’ve got to be kidding. Next. Denial. No, no, no, this can’t be what’s happening.

And then anger, resentment. Resistance. Change. It’s like fear, rage, everything. No, they can’t do this to us. Spike the emotional spikes, and then you start thinking about the new reality. If you’ve survived, if you happen to be a part of the new organization, the new system, and then you kind of get depressed coming to grips with, it’s just like grief. This is the grief process. We’ve said this over and over again. When change occurs, something dies. Even a small thing means you have to let go of it. There’s grieving, there’s depression. And as that happens, you’re trying on for size. Let me see what about my new role? What about my new situation? Okay, maybe I can make it here. And then at some point, you end up with commitment to the new reality. Now, if you want faster, better, change with less. You can’t avoid the turmoil. But can you? Can you make it a little bit easier for people? You change the chart. We call it changing the organization chart, but at the same time, can you focus on changing the heart as well? Helping people move, make them move inside as well as outside. If you just spend a little bit of time and attention thinking about what people, individuals, groups, and teams are going to be going through during this changing the chart process. If you can just help them change the heart by helping them move inside as well as moving outside, you will find your change processes actually working, and you’ll be in that 30% that succeed.


This insightful video delves into essential survival skills for navigating today’s workplace challenges. Covering skills seven to ten, it emphasizes the importance of developing courage to face challenges (symbolized by “tigers”), mastering cross-functional teamwork, adapting to rapid change, and finding purpose beyond routine tasks. The author encourages readers to view their work as contributing to a larger purpose, urging them to quit a mundane job and discover work that aligns with personal passions and makes a meaningful impact. With a focus on personal development, organizational growth, and effective teamwork, the video provides practical advice for thriving in the dynamic modern workplace.

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