From a very early age humans have had to deal with changes and several of them are ‘big life changes’; so could applying change management techniques from a young age help individuals travel through life and prepare them for an ever-changing workplace environment?
Change is driven by those individuals impacted, and its success and embedment are driven through behaviours and culture.
Albert Einstein once said ‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’ and Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Based on this, combining education from a young age and throughout adulthood, with the professional change management techniques we use today, can only be advantageous.
Everyone at some point in life experiences change, generally in their personal life and most likely in their working life, so encouraging younger generations to deal with change in a logical and supported manner can only support our future businesses in succeeding.
Children start to build resilience from day one, learning from mistakes, understanding emotions and developing behavioural traits. Change can be as simple as starting a new school, joining a sports team or gaining a brother or sister. It doesn’t matter how small or how large, the emotions are the same and the resistance levels are equal with common thoughts such as: ‘I don’t understand it’, ‘I don’t like it’ and ‘I don’t trust you.’
These three statements represent 3 different levels of resistance and understanding the emotions can only but support the resilience of the next generation workforce.
Emotion 1: Fear/Anxiety – I don’t understand it
No matter your age, if you don’t understand the ‘why’ and ‘what’, it’s our instinct to dislike the change and fight against the situation. Explaining the change, which is about to take place, preparing the individual and giving them time to understand takes down the first barrier.
Giving them choices allows them to make decisions and focus what’s important to them, but also what is in it for them.
Fear is not knowing, so knowledge becomes power and it strikes our emotions of security.
Children and adults need time to process information and understand how this will impact them. Empowering them to make decisions and supporting their choices in a controlled environment gives them the knowledge they need to understand the ‘Why’ and the ‘What’.
Emotion 2: Scared/Worried – I don’t like it
Talking about the change and explaining the steps of the change or merely listening to their concerns can change the emotional impact. With Children, helping them understand the emotion and giving it a name trains their brains to understand why they are feeling stressed.
Applying simple names for emotions (sad, worried, scared) gives them the building blocks to take the next step on their own journey. The same applies to adults in the workplace.
Emotion 3: I don’t trust you
Showing strong leadership and consistency allows trust to develop. Providing clarity on change from a trusted source can build relationships. Children trust their parents unconditionally, keeping their routines and showing they have a ‘comfort blanket’ at every stage. They will not always have that person at arms length, but teaching children how to trust and how to gain others’ trust is a vital life skill and one that is essential in a healthy workplace.
Educating the younger generation to understand the emotions of change will make them stronger and more resilient.
So should we start training the younger generation on change management to develop their characters and evolve from child to adulthood in a way that will build their resilience in an ever changing world, in readiness for the workplace of tomorrow? I think ‘yes’. Change Management techniques are something we should all equip ourselves with.
Find out more about our ground-breaking Change Management training here.