Blogging AYE 2007 Day 1

I’m back connected to the real world and ready to spread the knowledge. As I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, I attended two sessions on the first day, Experience the Satir Change Model presented by Steve Smith and Leading From the Middle presented by Diana Larson.

I am going to try and provide some information on one session per day. The session I felt was most impactful. Before I do that, there are some things you should know about AYE. AYE is unlike most conferences you’ve attended. There is no power point, that’s right, no power point! Every session is an intimate working group where you are put through simulations, exercises, andor role playing. There hasn’t been a session in my two years of attendance where everyone sat and listened to someone preach. I think this aspect of the conference separates it from most of the conferences we are used to and makes it one of the most intriguing and most valuable.

Onto the session. The most interesting of the two sessions on the first day was ‘Experience the Satir Change Model’. If you are unfamiliar with Virginia Satir, look here.

There are five stages at the core of the Satir Change Model. The five stages describe the effects on feelings, thinking, performance and physiology of the personteamorganization that is experiencing change.

The stages are quickly listed below:

  • Late Status Quo
    • This stage is the operational status quo. The current state. This state gives members a feeling of familiarity and stability
  • Resistance
    • Resistance comes when a ‘foreign element’ (idea for change) threatens familiar power structures. Many team members are likely to resist the change as they feel comfort or safe within what currently exists.
  • Chaos
    • Chaos is when the group or person enters uncharted territory. Old behaviour becomes unacceptable, old perceptions and realities no longer line up.
  • Integration
    • Integration is when the foreign element becomes accepted. This is when the group struggling with the foreign element understands the benefits and the new operating boundaries.
  • New Status Quo
    • The new status quo is the new, hopefully higher level of operational acceptance. The change has introduced something that everyone now buys into and is accepted as extremely beneficial to the group.

See the chart below for reference, this chart was created by Steve Smith who rarely gets the credit he deserves as it is used all over the internet.

In the session we physically simulated people going through the change process. We were split into groups, each responsible for a stage within the change process. We then created a gauntlet that people had to traverse. The people in the gauntlet physically influenced the person trying to pass through. For example, the status quo group had the person sit down, put their feet up, give them a back rub and feel comfortable with where they were at. The resistance group tried to pull them from that seat and convince them to move (foreign element). The chaos group spun the person around, pushed them back towards the ‘Late Status Quo’ and kept them confused. The integration group focused on making the person see the new benefits of the change as well as making them feel comfortable within the ‘New Status Quo’.

It was quite impactful to see, and the people who went through the experience could really relate it back to concrete examples in their working environment.

What does this all mean for you? Seems like a simple concept right? I think that these stages are something we should all keep in our heads to help us move ideas forward. Whether it’s introducing a change or helping shepherd a new idea through. Being able to identify the fact that you are in one of these stages will help you move the change forward and help you make the people around you understand what they are feeling is okay.

Making change isn’t easy, whether it is introducing a new build process, framework, process improvement, status report or employee, being able to identify which of the above stages you are in can help everyone feel better about making the change and help usher it through to success.

I tried to keep this as brief as possible with some insight into the session and the content. For a more detailed description of the Satir Change Model please check out here.

Day two tomorrow, “Communicate Effectively with Upper Management”.

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