It’s almost Christmas, and I’m so excited! This is a happy time of the year for me and for many others, but it is also one that signifies a lot of change. Change can be defined as moving to a different state of being than the one that we are currently in.
Change is a big topic in our society and has become quite the buzzword. Elections are won on the promise of change, there are famous songs about change (for example, from Bob Dylan and David Bowie) and there are a lot of slogans about change (i.e., “the only constant is change,”). Change can be scary as Queen Elsa conveys in Frozen II’s show-stopping song “Into the Unknown,” but it can also present opportunities, like when Ted Lasso changes careers to coach soccer, a sport he’s not that familiar with, in a country in which he’s never lived.
There are certainly a lot of changes that have been ongoing over the past few months and years just as there are many changes that occur throughout this season. For example:
- Advent is a time for change as Christians around the world await the birth of Jesus. It is through the birth of Christ that many hope for a change to the world that focuses on unity, love, and peace.
- For students, one semester is drawing to a close, and the next will begin in the not-too-distant future. The new semester will bring with it new classes, ideas and experiences. Personally, I am excited for the change of getting back into the classroom after being on sabbatical this fall.
- Very soon the year will change and, along with that, comes the anticipation of a good year to come.
There can, of course, be positives and negatives to change. As a positive, change can help us question the importance of the activities in which we engage and can even help us to improve; however, change can be negative if it causes us to modify crucial positive aspects of who we are and how we define ourselves.
Regardless, change occurs in our lives in a number of ways. Particularly, it happens quite a lot in workplaces and, in some cases, leaders try to influence this change deliberately. Kurt Lewin, considered one of the founders of both Social Psychology and Organizational Behavior, formulated a model for leading change that was later expanded on by the famous leadership author John Kotter (Lewin, 1947; Kotter, 2012).
I like to think of Lewin’s three-step model for change to be similar to the process of making popsicles. Let’s assume we have ice cubes in the freezer. In the first step, known as “unfreezing,” we remove the ice and let it thaw to become liquid water. In the next step, called “moving/changing,” we add some Kool Aid to the water to make it taste sweet. Then, in the final stage of “refreezing,” we put the ice back in the freezer so that the water refreezing, becoming popsicles. This sounds simple but, believe it or not, it is the same model that organizational leaders use to attempt to work through planned change in their contexts. Maybe we might also consider how we can purposefully unfreeze-move/change-refreeze those things in our own lives that we want to modify?
Over the past few months, I’ve been contemplating quite a few changes in my life that I hope to be positive, and I’m looking forward to focusing on future opportunities. One small change that I plan to make concerns this blog. I’ve been writing these monthly entries for nearly 6 years now! My, how the time flies. But now I think it’s time to turn my attention elsewhere. I might come back to writing here at some point (perhaps irregularly and likely not monthly), but I feel like I’ve already said a lot over the past 71 blogs and think that a little change is needed. So, I’m signing off for now.
But, before I do, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy holidays. I’ll see you further on down the road, friends. In the meantime, stay happy, healthy and safe.
Even though this blog’s going on a hiatus, I still want to keep in touch with you. As always, please feel free to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Dr. Mike Urick
Kotter, J. (2012). Leading change (with a new preface by the author). Cambridge MA, Harvard Business Review.
Lewin, K. (1947). Group decision and social change. In T.M. Newcomb, E.L. Hartley, et al. Readings in social psychology (pp. 330-344). New York NY, Henry Holt.