Engaging in change

I have recently made a big decision to relocate with my two sons from a rural hamlet in the Yorkshire Dales to the city of York. Having lived in 32 different places during my life you may think this is no big deal but because of our family history and the emotional investment in this place, it feels like it is. I have felt for some time that as the boys get older they need to experience the things that living in a livelier place will bring.

Initially quite ambivalent about the move we have suddenly all bought into the idea and are getting excited about the prospect, even though we don’t know where we will be living, what school Ben will go to, what Jack will do with his life etc. I started thinking about how this fits with what I know about getting people to buy in to change both personally and professionally and how we have made this shift as a family.

Me – I began by finding out about opportunities for the boys that I knew would appeal to them, after all, I believed that was my main motivation for moving.  It helped me to start painting a vision of what it would be like living there and the benefits it would bring each of them. I talked to people who knew York and they all seemed to love it. I began considering all the things I could access, such as classes, groups and cultural events that are difficult to attend where I live. Finally I spent last weekend there on my own, soaking up the atmosphere, and getting a feel for the place. That convinced me what a great opportunity this was for me as well as for the boys.

Jack (16) didn’t want to move at first because he would lose his friends. The reality is, in order to get a job, or go to college his friends like most people here are likely to move away and not come back, as there are so few opportunities for employment or housing..  What sold the move to Jack was that a) he can make friends there and they are likely to stay around. b) the night life is good  and c) when he is ready he will be able to live independently from us whilst still having us there when needed.

Ben (12) loves living rurally and feels he is the one with the most to lose. Though understandably nervous, he is now excited about moving to a bigger school and the additional facilities and sports clubs this brings. Another major plus factor for Ben, unlike Jack, is that he has realised he can attend university or college or find a job all whilst still living at home with me for as long as he likes. (At the moment he estimates that to be around the next 30 years :-))

So three people with different perceived losses, different concerns, different priorities and different benefits all making the journey through change and becoming engaged in the process. How do you help others through change?

Julie Kay helps you improve individual and team performance by building the strong trusting relationships you rely on for your success. If you are genuinely interested in boosting performance, productivity and profits the answer is just a click away. For more information, just click here

11 Responses to Engaging in change

  • Wow, you really have been on the move! Thanks for the info and I hope that your move is successful. Moving is not fun but after you get settled, it’s worth it.

  • I’ve seen some good stuff here! Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. Thanks!

  • Good Blog on Engaging in change. This works in training and learning also. The more engaging the training, learners will learn the more.

  • Wow! 32 places? I thought I was a frequent mover (a total of 25 places in 2 different countries). I’m slowing down, though. In the past 12 years I have only moved once. Your advice is very helpful, especially for anyone who is not comfortable with making big changes in their lives (not my case). People often ask me for advice in this area, and usually I’m not able to help them, since making drastic changes like moving to a different continent doesn’t bother me. Now I can send people to your article, for advice. Thanks!

    • Im slowing down too Marcy. I used to average between 18 months and 2 years in one place when I was in the Royal Navy but I actually stayed in our home for 13 years when the children were born. Glad to know you know others may find this article useful.

  • My children are young, 3 but together I share with the positive and reality about the future. Together we visualize want we want the future to hold for us. Thanks for following me on twitter, I am glad you did because I never would have found this encouraging post otherwise.

  • Hi Julie,
    Great post. I love the work you put into explaining the opportunities of the move to your children. When it comes to change, there are always “winners” and there are always people who are going to experience loss. It is so important to deal with the latter first, understand what their losses are going to be and mitigate them. You have described very well what more of us should be doing in all areas of change in our lives, thank you.
    Warm wishes,

    • Thanks for your comments Emma. Each individual can experience wins and losses at the same time so yes, it is important to bring out the perceived losses and acknowledge them. I often see leaders and managers trying to close down people’s feelings, for fear of opening a can of worms. If we give people a forum to air their concerns early, they are likely to be able to move on quickly. If we try and ignore or dismiss concerns they will go underground and people’s energy will be spent resisting or even sabotaging the change instead of on making it work.

  • Dear Julie,
    Could you please share; the pain/convincing which took you to prepare your sons for change?


    Avinash Kumar Arvind
    Corporate Trainer
    (English & Soft Skills)
    Jaipur, India

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    • Hi Avinash. Thanks for your question The three main things I focus on at the outset of any change is a) Identify the internal and the external drivers of the change e.g. school terms times, the housing market, transport links for my work, lack of opportunities, risk of the children losing confidence etc. b) I highlight the pain of not making the change in the short and long term and c) listen and acknowledge the feelings of everyone impacted by the change without justifying or diminishing them. Hope that helps.

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