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

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