soc_1I was talking with Mike Tobias of Mercanix fame the other day and he related a good story about a bit of systems implementation work he was doing. He was training users at a client’s location and had a really varied set of reactions amongst employees.

Some of them loved the new software, others were skeptical, and others were vehemently adamant that it would never work.

Mike suddenly realized that this group he was dealing with were in fact grieving for the loss of their old way of doing things and that he had to take many of them through the Six Stages of Grief before they could all be onboard.

In case you forget, the six stages are:

  1. Shock
  2. Denial
  3. Anger
  4. Bargaining
  5. Depression
  6. Acceptance

I had never thought of people reacting to Organizational Change projects in the same albeit smaller way that they react to a death in the family but it really is the same thing.

Some people hate change and you have to drag them kicking and screaming from their old way of doing things. You have to help them grieve. Other people are more open to change and you don’t need to babysit them as much as they move quickly through the six stages of change.