Great Teams

Don't Get Eating By The Crocodile

08.12.20 02:43 PM By Mark Pym

Avoiding Negative Reactions To Change 


Awareness of these potential change issues, is essential and the higher levels of awareness in the team the quicker the team will go through the change curve.

The diagram in this blog,  depicts a typical major change  curve scenario in many teams and organisations.

Clearly avoiding the ‘crocodiles’ is of paramount importance!

Part of any effective change should consist of helping and aiding each member of the team to come to terms with the change. This will need lots of dialogue and support. 

If we were to be asked to choose one word that sums up the anti-dote to negative change, we would say: connection.

This is critical to helping staff transition through the emotions of change.

 This transition is a natural process. This happens to all of us.

Each person in the team, before they can accept the change, goes through an internal process of adjustment.

Change cannot happen without internal adjustment; otherwise it would not be change.

This internal process is called ‘transition’.

The transition occurring now across tens of thousands of teams, is huge and shouldn’t be underestimated.

This internal transition process is very individual and can happen at a different pace for each person in the team.

Individuals can take a long time, to transition and accept the change, especially if the change is poorly handled. In many cases individuals may reject the change, even if it is logical in its construct.

Through regularly connecting with each person in the team  (by calls/online meetings/zoom calls/structed catch ups/letters and positive emails), on a regular basis we really can help them transition more successful. 

And yes, we would include regularly connecting with  furloughed employees who may be suffering  from all four of these negative reactions to change.


So, we recommend that you keep in mind, the following four negative reactions in any changing environment and tailor solutions to respond to these, if and when they surface:

A sense of unfairness in the way the employee has been treated

Personal uncertainty and insecurity about the future

Feeling powerless

Resisting the need to adapt or change

2020 has seen unprecedented change for millions of employees across the globe following the arrival of Corona virus.

Our human capacity for change and adaption has never been more challenged, in recent years, as we work tirelessly in our teams and organisations to adapt and change as rapidly as possible.

The teams that do this well, keep in mind four basic causes that can create negative reactions in any changing environment.

Firstly there is:

  • A sense of unfairness in the way the employee has been treated

This is most commonly based upon unwritten beliefs and assumptions made over a period of time that the way things were done around here would

Hence when change is introduced by the organisation it is deemed unfair by the individual, often regardless of the circumstances that led to the change.

Don’t expect staff to always react logically during a crisis as change is an emotional rollercoaster for many people.

Secondly, we have:

  • Personal uncertainty and insecurity about the future
    • It is usual to find that most individuals spend time thinking about the impact of organisational change upon themselves, their current role and possible future prospects.  Right now, this is one of the biggest concerns of staff -everyone is feeling very insecure and concerned about the future.

This happens even when people are not directly affected by the change.

Thirdly we have:

  • Feeling Powerlessness
    • The larger the change the greater the tendency is for individuals to feel that changes are imposed upon them. Common phrases that might be heard include, ‘’There is nothing we can do’’, ‘’They don’t ask us for our opinions’’,  ‘’They tell us and we just have to accept it’’,

Finally we have:

  • Resisting the need to adapt or change
    • When things change in the workplace a need is created for individuals to adapt, often, as with the Corona Virus, this adaption has to be very fast.
    • If individuals do not accept change by making the necessary transition, their external behaviour and performance will not be as effective as it could be, particularly in a crisis.

These negative reactions to change all need to be considered, with clear plans in place to try and overcome any such barriers. 

Stay Connected During Periods Of Change