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Managing Change: A New Approach

I began researching the process of change many years ago when I was actively engaged in Health Education and learning how to assist people in finding their way out of risky health-related situations from smoking to driving without seatbelts. Later, while working on my doctorate, I did a great deal of work on the process of change and how to translate theoretical components of change into something more concrete and practical. Much of this was related to my work in Counseling Psychology and, more specifically, to trauma and how people learn to manage the consequences of trauma. These experiences and everything I had learned motivated me to create an approach based on sound theory that is practical and supports a solution-focused approach to change. This process is designed specifically for professionals and most especially for nonprofit CEO/Executive Directors.

The process uses three theoretical approaches that I could effectively incorporate into a counseling approach and subsequently into a coaching approach, which I call the ReSET model or Reflective Solutions Executive Training.

What I have learned is that three things need to happen for change to be effective. First, you must be willing to be self-reflective and practice the skill of self-reflection to gain the most relevant information about your experiences. Secondly, you have to be able to articulate the situation or “tell the story” of the situation. We use storytelling for self-reflection and as a means to plan your experience. Lastly, you have to commit to focusing on the solution and not on the problem. This is about creating intention and taking concrete action towards exploring solutions. The following narrative provides a short overview of the theory and the related processes.

I have found that it is extremely important to actively engage in an intentional change process for your most pressing issue and teach yourself how to do it effectively. The most powerful outcome of this experience is learning to do this consistently over time with almost any situation.

Part of this approach is to confront your professional challenges intentionally. The peer support model is one of the most important elements of this process. In essence, we cannot do this well alone. The collective knowledge of our peers is so important to our learning and growth. In teaching, we learn differently. In sharing, we change the story.

I have effectively supported executives using this change process who:

  • Have decided to leave their current position

  • Are struggling with a challenging executive task that is outside of their skills set (addressing institutionalized racism)

  • Struggling with challenging internal situations (staffing, board members, volunteers, etc.)

  • Some are struggling to manage the impact of personal life experiences on work (mental health, physical health, emotional health, or spiritual health).

  • Want to learn how to implement change management processes in their organization

In the end, the work of change is a complicated and dynamic process that has to be nurtured and nourished. Over time, being an effective change agent will become second nature and will give you the opportunity to support others in learning this precious skill.

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Kreutzer, K. (2009). Nonprofit governance during organizational transition in voluntary associations. Nonprofit management and leadership. (20,1). DOI: 10.1002/nml.244.

Saltzburg, S. (2007). Narrative Therapy Pathways for Re-authoring with parents of adolescents coming out as lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Contemporary Family Therapy. (29) DOI: 10.1007/s10591-007-9035-1

McKergow, M., Korman, H. (2009). Inbetween-neither inside nor outside: The radical simplicity of solution-focused brief therapy. Journal of Systemic Therapies. (28,2). Retrieved from Proquest Psychology Journals.

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