Sign up for my newsletter and receive your guide to 4 Key Actions for Managing a New Team!

Whether you’re dealing with COVID, the Great Resignation, or uncertainty about where you’re going, you’re dealing with change.

My relationship with change completely, erm, changed when I encountered the Satir Change Model.

A graphical description of the Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model, image credit Steven M. Smith

1. Status Quo (Normal)

In this model, we start out in Status Quo, aka Normal.

Whatever we may be feeling about what that Normal is, we understand it.

It’s comfortable (albeit maybe not enjoyable). We know what to expect and how to handle it.

!! Foreign Element !!

Then, in comes a Foreign Element. AKA That Unexpected Thing that changes everything.

Suddenly, Normal has become everything but.

Everything we know about what to expect and how to handle it stops being so.

2. Resistance

How do we react?

We Resist, of course!

We pretend That Unexpected Thing hasn’t happened.

We tell ourselves it won’t change anything.

We merrily carry on as if what we expect to happen still is and as though how we’re used to handling it still works.

3. Chaos

Eventually, however, we face reality and recognize that Change has arrived.

This throws us into Chaos, because nothing we know seems to apply anymore.

We may be feeling scared, out of control, helpless, and alone.

The thrill seeker in us may be feeling giddy and excited, riding that edge where perilous is both invigorating and terrifying.

We may not see any light at the end of the tunnel and so feel desperate, depressed, or debilitated.

We’re having A Very Bad Day. (Or Week. Or Year!)

😇😇 Transforming Idea 😇😇

As we droop along through this Pit Of Despair, sooner or later a Transforming Idea bursts in, showering us with possibility and potential.

If, that is, we:

a) recognize it, and

b) figure out how to use it.

Once we a) recognize it as our Golden Ticket, then we can start b) figuring out how to use it.

This tends to be both a heady time — Oh my gosh! I’m figuring it out!

Also, utterly depressing — Nope. I don’t understand it at all.

4. Integration

Slowly and surely, however, Oh my gosh! happens more and more, and Nope happens less and less.

We are starting to Integrate the Transforming Idea.

5. New Status Quo (The New Normal)

When we’ve fully Integrated the Transforming Idea, we’ve come out the other side into a New Status Quo, aka The New Normal.

Oftentimes, we’re now functioning on a higher plane, with more effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity (or whatever measures matter to you).

If life was good before, it’s even better now.

Until, of course, the next Foreign Element pops in to say hi =)

So many Foreign Elements these days!

One of the reasons so many of us are so worn out these days is because we’ve had one Foreign Element after another dropping in for a good, long visit.

We haven’t had a chance to find a Transforming Idea for the first one, let alone Integrate it into a New Status Quo, before the second one hits.

And the third one.

And the fourth one!

And … 😣

Everything is a Foreign Element

What’s more, we’re never really contentedly swimming along in a stable Status Quo.

We’re constantly being hit by Foreign Elements of more-or-less diminutive size:

  • Your alarm clock doesn’t go off.
  • Your kid wakes up (or wakes you up) with a fever (or even just wanting a drink of water).
  • It’s raining today when the forecast was for sunshine.

These are each Foreign Elements.

Each of these sends us down the path of Resistance and Chaos until we find one or more Transforming Ideas to Integrate us into that lovely New Status Quo.

Every change is different

Each of us handle change differently.

Each of us handles each change differently too.

Sometimes we seem to skip right over Resistance, and even over much of the Chaos.

It’s raining instead of the predicted sunny? No big deal — grab our umbrella on the way out and we’re good to go.

We always experience the full process

My experience, however, is we do go through each of these phases every time, even if ever so briefly.

It’s raining out? Ugh. [Resistance, Chaos]

Well, I guess we can have the picnic inside, and the kidlings/dogs/ferrets always love splashing in puddles. [Transforming Ideas]

OK, we’re good to go. [New Status Quo]

How are you handling all these changes life is bringing you?

What have been the most transformative ideas, and how have you integrated them?

Let me know in the comments!

Thoughts? Feedback? Something to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Sign up for my newsletter and receive your guide to 4 Key Actions for Managing a New Team!