My partner and I are on the homestretch of a renovation. Initially planned as a modest, two-month project, it has turned into a ten-month long (and counting) undertaking.
In addition to the timeline blowout, we have gone over budget, vastly increased the project’s scope and tested the resilience of our relationship.
The fact is, like any change, a renovation is difficult to pull off and few manage the process as well as they would like (70% of change initiatives fail).
A practical and comprehensive way of approaching change.
I recently started the Four Rooms of Change® accreditation process. It’s a theory of change that was created by Claes Janssen, Ph.D, a Swedish psychologist, researcher and author. It recognises there are two ways of approaching yourself, life, others and society and helps people reflect on, and take responsibility for, how they respond to change.
At SenateSHJ, we think about and help our clients change using this theory. I’ve learnt four things from my Four Rooms training that, in hindsight, would have set me up for a smoother renovation.
Self-awareness and shared language are the foundations.
Unlike traditional change theories, Four Rooms of Change® is unique because participants build it based on their own feelings and experiences. This takes self-awareness and vulnerability, and establishes a common language for how individuals, teams and organisations understand and talk about change.
People move through change at their own pace.
Armed with better understanding of the emotional side of any transition, participants explore how their feelings evolve. As they build the theory in a room, it helps them to understand their experience in each of the four rooms – or states of mind –, which are known as Contentment, Self-Censorship, Confusion and Inspiration. They start to see that change is not linear – individuals and teams can circle through different ‘rooms’ of change, over a period of days, weeks or months or years…
Sometimes, we get stuck.
The concept of a ‘zero point’ is what Claes describes as a moment when a person fully realises contentment is lost but also understands that they cannot get it back. We must reach and accept our zero point to leave the past behind and move forward to find a new inspiration. Otherwise, we find ourselves in a constant state of confusion.
Don’t ignore complexity.
The Four Rooms of Change® recognises that people are complex and might be in a different room for different aspects of their life. You might be in one room at work, a different one with your friends, while doing the grocery shopping and so on. This frame helps people manage their response to uncertainty in different situations, at their own pace.
It’s with these lessons in mind that I fearlessly face the last legs of our renovation. Buoyed by stronger self-awareness and communication, as well as acceptance of the messiness of this change, I am facing into my discomfort, working through the many frustrations and brimming with ideas.