How to “flatten your own curve” during major change

One of my best clients told me, “It’s all out panic at the disco here right now.” Another said, “Given the fact that we can’t focus on our own work right now, I don’t know how we’re going to focus on your training.” You may be hearing or feeling the same kinds of things.

I have heard many people say (including myself) “we are in unprecedented times” and that is true…sort of. Put another way, this is just a larger scale version of change. My clients deal with change all the time. I have watched my clients manage change for over 10 years. Peoples’ feelings of uncertainty, shock, anger, fear, doubt, and many others are mostly normal and largely predictable.

2 years ago, I was introduced to a change model by one of the leading talent management companies in the world, Lee Hecht Harrison. The model is designed to help “shorten and flatten the curve” of unproductivity during times of change.

The model begins by identifying five different stages of change:

Anticipation: Knowing or expecting that something is going to happen.

Letting Go: Facing the fact things are different and letting go of the past.

Disorientation: Things are no longer what they were and not yet how they are going to be.

Reappraisal: Taking a new look at the situation and assessing options.

Recommitment: Reconnecting to a sense of purpose.

Change affects everyone differently. Each individual will be at their own stage for their own length of time given how they currently feel.

The leaders I work with have found this model helps ease anxiety people may be feeling and providing a more appropriate people-first approach by leading based on where each person is on the change model.

I have attached the model for you to go do good things with. Let me know how I could be of help to you, your team, and your organization during this unprecedented time of change.

Lee Hecht Harrison Change Model


  • Jalene Case Reply

    Thank you Ryan. This is extremely helpful and I’ll be sharing it with my clients.

  • Peter Neufeldt Reply

    Thank you for your very timely sharing of encouraging thoughts and reflections regarding the time of change we are all experiencing.
    I appreciate your sharing of the Lee Hecht Harrison change model and your introductory comments regarding the model. They are very helpful!
    I wish you continued success as you navigate and provide leadership regarding the challenges of change.
    -Peter Neufeldt

    • Ryan Lisk Reply

      Thanks Peter. Good to hear from you.

  • Hannah Helsby Reply

    This is by far the most useful thing i’ve seen in this flurry of information in recent weeks! Thank you!

  • Amanda Black Reply

    I love this!!!! Right now I am at the Recommitment stage. Thanks for this.

  • Bobbie Bryant Reply

    Ryan, I really like the chart, particularly slide #6; very helpful. Thanks for sharing, Bobbie

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