The challenges of change

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    Transcript: The challenges of change

    Hello. This is Ken Taylor from London. In the business world, change happens quickly and often unpredictably. The question is not, “Do we have to change?” Change is inevitable, so the question should be, “How do we manage change in an effective way?” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed a model of the phases and emotions that people go through when dealing with grief. This model has been adapted to understand how employees respond to radical changes. In Bob Dignen’s latest Business Skills article, he outlines five stages based on the Kübler-Ross model:

    Stage one: shock and denialVerweigerung, Nicht-wahrhaben-Wollendenial
    Stage two: anger and frustration
    Stage three: bargainingVerhandelnbargaining
    Stage four: depression
    Stage five: acceptance

    In our first exercise, you will hear a short dialogue between two people. Tony is the editor of a news magazine. June is his deputy. Tony has just come back from a meeting with the boardVorstand; hier auch: Geschäftsleitungboard of directors. He has some important changes to report to June. Listen to her reactions to the proposed changes and try to identify the five stages she goes through as she speaks — shock and denial, angerWut, Ärgeranger and frustration, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Ready? Listen now.

    Tony: Well, that was to be quite a… (ifml.)vielleicht ein(e) … seinquite a meeting! I’m still in a state of shock.
    June: What happened?
    Tony: We’re going digital! There will no longer be paper copies of the magazine on the shelf (pl. shelves)Regalshelves.
    June: What? But that’s impossible. Surely that won’t work. How will people know we exist?
    Tony: The board are convinced it will work — based on the salesUmsatzsales of our online spin-offAusgliederungspin-offs. They want the change-overVeränderung, Umstellungchange-over in June.
    June: Oh! No way! That’s crazy. We don’t have the skill set(s)Kompetenzen, Fähigkeitenskill sets or the people. How on earth do they think we can reorganize our whole way of working in four months? Oh, it makes me furiouswütendfurious to even think about it.
    Tony: It’s decided. The board realize that it will mean a lot of extra work. To begin with, they want us to do an immediate assessmentErmittlungassessment of staffingPersonalbestandstaffing and recruitmentEinstellungrecruitment needs.
    June: Oh, right. I suppose that means some redundancy (UK)Entlassungredundancies. Where do you and I stand in all this? We have the experience of setting up the existing online products at least. Maybe that will sth. will count for somethingetw. wird dabei berücksichtig werdencount for something.
    Tony: I’m sure it will. Look, to be honest, I have no idea what the implicationAuswirkung, Folgeimplications are for the editorialRedaktions-editorial team. We have to take a long hard look at ourselves in the light of this decision.
    June: Oh, well, I’ve always got freelancefreiberuflichfreelance writing to to fall back on sth.auf etw. zurückgreifenfall back on, I suppose. Not a happy thought, though! I really don’t want to have to go back to that full-time.
    Tony: I’m sure it won’t come to that.
    June: Oh, I hope not. Well, if that’s the board’s decision, I suggest we just to put one’s nose to the grindstonesich auf den Hosenboden setzenput our noses to the grindstone and get on with it.

    OK, did you hear how June went through the five stages of emotional reaction? We’ll play June’s part of the dialogue again — but not in the correct order. Listen again to June’s reactions and, in the following pause, say which stage of emotional reaction that it corresponds to. Then you will hear the correct answer. OK, ready?

    June: Oh, well, I’ve always got freelance writing to fall back on, I suppose. Not a happy thought, though! I really don’t want to have to go back to that full-time.
    That is stage four: depression. OK, next one.

    June: What? But that’s impossible. Surely that won’t work. How will people know we exist?
    That is definitely stage one: shock and denial.

    June: Oh, I hope not. Well, if that’s the board’s decision, I suggest we just put our noses to the grindstone and get on with it.
    That’s definitely stage five: acceptance.

    June: Oh, right. I suppose that means some redundancies. Where do you and I stand in all this? We have the experience of setting up the existing online products at least. Maybe that will count for something.
    That is stage three: bargaining. In other words, trying to manage the process.

    June: Oh! No way!Nein!, Keineswegs!No way! That’s crazy. We don’t have the skill sets or the people. How on earth do they think we can reorganize our whole way of working in four months? Oh, it makes me furious to even think about it.
    This final one is stage two: anger and frustration.

    How did you get on? You can read more about these phases of emotional reaction to change in Bob Dignen’s Business Skills article in the latest issue of Business Spotlight.

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