unexpected change can be challenging
unexpected change can be challenging

How to Cope with Unexpected Change

Change can be purposeful and deliberate. In other cases, however, change can be completely unexpected.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a radical and sudden change for individuals and organizations around the world. In a matter of days, normal routines (at home and work) were completely revised and everyone has been experiencing the challenge of coping with unforeseen and unwanted change.

Change Management is the process of preparing people for an expected change. But sometimes, as in the case of the COVID-19 outbreak, the change is thrust upon us without warning. The key to successful Change Management is to get people to accept and adopt to the change while minimizing, mitigating, or avoiding any unwanted effects. This means acknowledging that we are not in control of what’s happening – but do have control over our role and our responses to the change.

Answering These Questions Can Help

The following questions are designed to assist individuals that are impacted by change for any situation that is unexpected or unwanted with examples relating to the COVID-19 outbreak:

What do I know about the change?

  • Where has the information come from?
  • Do I know whether it’s true or not?

What additional information do I need to understand why the change is occurring?

  • What do I not know or understand?

Where can I get factual information about the change?

  • Stick with fact-based resources like the CDC and your local healthcare departments and officials

How do I feel about the change?

  • Are you stressed out?  Having trouble sleeping?
  • Consider this simple Grounding Technique when you feel anxious

How am I impacted by the change?

  • What am I being asked to do?

What’s within and outside my control?

  • You control your behavior and level of understanding

What will I do to positively contribute to the change?

  • Don’t transfer your anxiety to others
  • Focus on what you can still do

What can I do to proactively help make me comfortable with the change?

  • Plan a way to safely get things you need
  • Know how to connect with healthcare services without leaving your home

How will I do it?

  • Take stock, can you share with others?
  • Can others share with you?

What is my personal accountability for success or failure of the change?

  • Do what you are being asked to do
  • Our actions are the key to containing this virus

The intended outcome is to move forward with a new understanding of your personal role and responses. This will not dissolve all undesired impacts or challenges – but accepting the change is the first step.

Extracted, with permissions, from “Importance of Accepting the Change We’re All Experiencing”, LaMarsh Global, Chicago, IL.

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