In Lewin's change model the first stage is Unfreezing- to become motivated to change. Unfreezing has 3-sub-processes:-
Disconfirmation>Survival Anxiety> Creation of Psychological Safety.
1. Disconfirmation or frustration with how things are arises as data coming in is not confirming hopes and expectations. If the feelings are insufficient to drive change we can treat the situation by ignoring it, denying its validity, blaming others or dismissing it as irrelevant. Such a state can result in Learning Anxiety where we have to admit we don't know, recognising we are not doing our best generating a fear of losing face, effectiveness, self-esteem or identity We end upadapting poorly, failing to meet our creative potential but in our state that looks more desirable than the risk of failure and loss of self-esteem.
Or we can accept the information is valid and feel it is connected to something we care about, generating
2. Survival Anxiety
This condition an easily lead to paralysis as we wonder how to cope. What we desperately need is the
3. Creation of Psychological Safety
which is the key to successful change.
So How do we create sufficient Psychological Safety to allow change to happen? It is clear from the difficulty organisations face that it is not a straightforward "easy" thing to achieve. Recent thinking about complexity theory puts organisations in the category of Complex Adaptive Systems ( John Holland defines the notion of CAS as “There are systems where there are a lot of individual agents that interact and also learn and adapt.”) meaning cause and effect do not have a predictable linear relationship. We will deal with Lewin's Change process in a future blog.