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Coping with Change A Practical Approach to a Common Organizational Challenge A Presentation for the 2009 Lake Local Schools Convocation. Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DFAPA August 24, 2009. 1 Thank you for your kind invitation and your commitment to educational excellence.

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Coping with ChangeA Practical Approach to a Common Organizational ChallengeA Presentation for the 2009Lake Local Schools Convocation

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DFAPA

August 24, 2009

1Thank you for your kind invitation and your commitment to educational excellence.

2I hope to offer practical advice you can put to work in your personal and professional lives today.

3Please let me know whether I succeeded on your evaluation forms.

why is this important
Why is this important?
  • Change happens.
  • We don’t always embrace it.
  • In fact, we often resist it with all our might.
  • Organizational change is a source of significant stress at work.
  • Some of us deal with change better than others.
  • This presentation will help you cope.
  • You can start using these strategies today.
  • I understand that each of you is making a personal commitment to your organizational vision this year. (This may not be the principal change on you minds.)
  • After mastering the information in this presentation, you will be able to
    • Give three reasons why we tend to resist change,
    • Identify three ways we resist change, and
    • Detail three practical strategies for coping with change more effectively.
  • Change is not going away.
  • Coping with it more effectively can make a world of difference in your life.1,2,3

1We often refuse to change even when it’s clear what we are doing is not working.

2I once counseled a husband about what to get his wife for their anniversary.

3A farmer in Georgia was not pleased with his wife.

why do we resist change
Why do we resist change?
  • Change is often uncomfortable.
  • We may not see what’s in it for us. (WII-FM)
  • It may seem silly and pointless.1,2
  • We may not have been consulted beforehand.
  • A compelling case for change may not have been made.
  • We know how often proposed changes fizzle and poop out.
  • The change may require extra effort on our part.
  • We may view the change as unfair.
  • We may view the proposed change as a very bad thing.
  • It just seems to be part of human nature.

1Do you know the difference in the Golden and Platinum Rules?

2I learned a hard change lesson about administrative rounding.

how do we resist change
How do we resist change?
  • We experience strong feelings.1,2
  • We seek out others who share our feelings.
  • We talk behind others’ back.
  • We spin and exaggerate.
  • We attack those who feel differently.
  • We pout and withdraw.
  • We indulge in passive, aggressive posturing.
  • We create dissention and set organizational back fires.
  • Unfailingly civil and gracious, we challenge the case for change with dispassionate clarifying questions.
  • Yeah, right.

1When SOMC administrators announced a change I didn’t like, I became upset.

2Then I calmed myself and figured out a better way to cope.

what practical strategies will help us cope more effectively with change
What practical strategies will help us cope more effectively with change?
  • Recognize your emotional arousal.
  • Calm yourself.
  • Become a reporter; ask clarifying questions.
  • Clarify whether you are being asked permission, being consulted or being informed.
  • Figure out exactly how the change will affect you.
  • If the final decision is still pending, make the case for and against the change.1
  • Take a thoughtful position.
  • Suggest other options
  • Suggest a pilot study.
  • Ask for metrics that will prove the change produced the desired results.
  • Focus on results.
  • Limit pointless rumination.
  • Engage in healthy distractions.
  • Stop trying to reason with unreasonable people.
  • Reframe the change as a personal opportunity to grow.

1I made a vigorous case against labeling average employees.

what have we learned
What have we learned?
  • Change happens.
  • It does not always happen easily.
  • Most of us would admit that change is one of our principal challenges in the work environment.
  • And most of us would admit that we could cope with change better.
  • We now know what to do.
  • But knowing what to do is rarely the problem.
  • Doing it is.1

1Let’s use losing weight and keeping it off as an example.


Where can you learn more?1

  • Examine a British perspective by reviewing Judith Bell’s, Teachers Talk About Teaching: Coping With Change in Turbulent Times, Open University Press, 1995.
  • Read Susan Jones’, Coping With Change at Work, Thorsons Business, 1995.
  • Consider the grief reactions that workplace changes trigger by reading J. Shep Jeffreys’, Coping With Workplace Grief, Revised Edition: Dealing With Loss, Trauma and Change, Crisp Learning, 2005.
  • Review some additional practical tips from Sharon L. Mosenkis at

1Please visit www.KendallLStewartMD.comto download related white papers and presentations.


How can you contact me?1

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

VPMA and Chief Medical Officer

Southern Ohio Medical Center

President & CEO

The SOMC Medical Care Foundation, Inc.

1805 27th Street

Waller Building

Suite B01

Portsmouth, Ohio 45662


1Speaking and consultation fees benefit the SOMC Endowment Fund.


Are there other questions?

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