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Use The EMP Framework to help people embrace change in a more effective way

Imagine if you are asked to change your normal routines and only have a short period to adjust, most people would not get up the next day and say "yes" i am going to make the change.

Duhigg's work on the power of habits help to explain why change of routines/habits are so difficult. A cue is a trigger that tells the brain to go into an automatic mode and which habit to use. The routine is the physical, emotional, or mental process dictated by the cue to achieve the reward (which helps the brain figure out if the particular loop is worth remembering for the future to repeat). Over time this loop is repeated and becomes more automatic until a habit is formed.

The most crucial part of the habit loop is to identify what is the craving about, it could be range from craving for safety to happiness or even companionship. Example : if the organization is going to implement pay cuts to tide over the covid period , how would this impact the employees?

-> Identify the crave or the need (i.e. Most companies conveniently skip this part)

Is it certainty of reinstatement of salaries? Is it safety that they still have jobs?Effectively, the question that needs to be answered is "What is the impact of the change on the employee?"

Taking into consideration on the majority of impacts, the change messaging and planning needs to encapsulate the concerns.

For an organization, when change is perceived as a threat if it jeopardises the livelihood of others and requiring the people to sacrifice more than what they can offer, it is often resisted and challenged upon. Instead, we need to treat change as an ongoing process rather than a special 1 to 2 year organizational wide exercise. You will need to shift your focus towards the learning to adapt and embrace change as opposed to reducing resistance.

The process of building an organization towards learning how to embrace change needs to look into three aspects namely emotional, mental and physical.


To every change, be it positive or negative, there would bound to have some residual or direct reaction of emotions that would rush in. To help individuals to embrace change, we need to identify the useful emotions to have to help build people towards a particular emotion. Below is an illustration of an emotions wheel to help you navigate the different emotions could feel in response to changes.

One interesting point to note is the emotion of being confused, being confused is almost 10 times better than being sad. Confusion is a great emotion to have and can be a powerful emotion to drive change initiatives as the main outcome is to seek clarity. A question to answer at this point is : What emotions will be beneficial to embrace change?

What are the change enabling emotions?

How can i help move towards the change enabling emotions?

Mental For people to become mentally strong, there is correlation with the ability to cope with emotions that may make people crumble and stress when under pressure. Being "mentally tough" doesn't mean being physically strong or emotionally aggressive. It means being mature and smart enough to weather the challenges that life sends your way.

To encourage mental toughness or strength with your team or organizational members, the environment and culture needs to be promoting positivity at all corners of the corridors. This calls for the shift in the following : 1) How people are treated daily in the company? 2) What words are used when mistakes are made?

3) How are meetings being held? Uplifting?

4) How are people being respected?

5) How are bad news conveyed to employees?

The huge shift in the "organizational vibe" would influence how people would treat people. Example : Entering a hip hop dance class halfway would have a " come in and move to the music vibe". Entering a fully energized workplace would give a "let's break down challenges together vibe"

Ultimately, what type of orgnizational vibe are you aiming for?


The physical aspect to embrace change is the amount of physical resources available to help people welcome change with open arms. Ever been in situations where the target is the sky, and you are tasked to reach it without any resources provided and you had to figure things out by yourself.

Now in most cases, the reality is true, employees are expected to seek their own resources and figure things by themselves. Now, how can the organization help the employees embrace change? 1) Build learning resources for employees to transit from don't know to at least i know something 2) Organize"learning clinics or sessions" for employees to learn things outside of their scope of work -> to embrace the learner's mindset

3) Develop learning pathways for each employee so that they feel they are part of something even bigger.

4) Assign internal change mentors that employees can confide in to help them embrace change

Work Towards Embracing Change Rather Than To Put All The Efforts To Reduce Resistance

Conclusion If organizations are to successfully implement change, there needs to have supporting culture of learning and desires for change. When change is forced upon the employees from a top down approach,resistance increases and sometimes an eventual downfall occurs. There must be other ways of doing it. The answer is not finding more effective ways to force or preach employees to accept change. It has not, and will not work. A workable solution is to create and environment where change, wherever it comes from, is implemented by the members of the organization through exchange of ideas and open dialogue. Learn to lead the change and help your team members embrace change Click here to lead the change


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