Change Management Fundamental Basics “Gangnam THE ROCK Style” – Part 29
Christiano will learn over time that during periods of change, organizations should promote the belief that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) syndromes can be fixed by openness to professional help when there is a perceived “yelp” as the reality of today’s work/ life demands are that there are more and more people experiencing psychological duress due to excessive stress.
In my opinion, organizations need to embrace the notion that during periods of change it is critical to insure that policies and procedures are in place to identify early symptoms of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” syndrome.
It is important for organizations to acknowledge that “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” syndrome can arise in the context of change management as an inadvertent by-product of change. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual’s ability to cope.
Formal diagnostic criteria require that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
In the context of change management, if an individual feels threatened in the sense that they may lose their job as a result of change, they may experience a form of PTSD.
That is, if their employment is the center of their universe for various reasons such as their perception that their work is an extension of their family; or their work has taken the best years of their life; or they cannot survive financially without their current employment; or they do not believe there are any other comparable alternatives out there for them; etc.; they can feel severe anxiety resulting in psychological trauma as a direct result of change which by its nature carries a certain degree of uncertainty.
If an individual feels that they can lose their job as a result of the change in appearance, the fact that their job may not be threatened in fact is irrelevant.
That is, it is the perception by an individual of a severe threat to the center of their universe that can create severe anxiety as opposed to the reality of the underlying situation.
Therefore, it is critical that organizations be as transparent as possible in regards to the “Actual” impacts of change on headcount reductions combined with adequate support services in place such as “Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)” to help employees deal with any anxiety created by change circumstances.
Furthermore, it is often an immediate supervisor who should be in the best position to identify symptoms of PTSD such that they should advise the impacted employee to seek the assistance of professionals to remedy the early symptoms before the symptoms become a disease and the disease spreads throughout the organization.
Lastly, it is important for organizations to stop treating psychological issues as some sort of superficial illness or some sort of taboo area for discussion purposes.
The reality of today’s work/ life demands are that there are more and more people experiencing various psychological issues during the course of their lives which can be fixed if there is an openness to the need for psychological help when there is someone experiencing some sort of psychological duress.
In summary, I refer to “Change Management Gangnam THE ROCK Style” as the belief that PTSD syndromes can be fixed by openness to professional help when there is a perceived “yelp”.