Loss: A Learning Opportunity with a Specific Purpose

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings.” Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross, 1926-2004, Swiss-born psychiatrist and author

I have friends and family that are experiencing difficult losses of family pets. I’ve been revisiting Kubler Ross’ five stages of grief to help me get a better sense of where these folks are in the grieving process so that I may better support them through each stage.

Brushing up on this model reflects what some of what my clients are experiencing. A merger of two companies with two distinctly separate cultures into one company and one culture doesn’t happen overnight. People need to experience the Denial – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance of the ‘death’ of their original company before accepting and embracing their new company.

Remembering to include organizational change frameworks and time to allow employees to move through this process. Don’t fault them for their feelings. Instead take the time to learn how to assist in guiding them through the stages, if appropriate.

I’ll end with another impactful quote from EKR:

“You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.”

ACTION: If you are experiencing an organizational change, develop a list of ten possible purposes / opportunities for you to learn in this change. The purpose is there…and it is up to you to find it.

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

Connect With Sandra:
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Sandra Schwan

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