All change comes in cycles that follow a natural pattern so hardwired into our way of being and changing that it is at times hard to see. The Cycle of Change/Experience is a way of capturing the steps that are involved in an individual becoming aware of a need, acting on it and completing to satisfaction before being ready for the next input. As with all models of personal change, scale is simply a matter of perspective and many of attributes of this view of change could be applied at the organisational level.

When drawn out the cycle and its stages look like the image below:

Awareness: This can often be thought of as the first stage and is the point where an individual becomes aware of a need. That could be something physical (hunger), something based on their phenomenology at that point in time (the desire to speak) or something more existential (a desire for change).

Mobilisation: Once an individual is aware of a need this is the stage where it gathers the energy to act and balances the energy required against the pressure or priority of the need. It is also at this stage that an approach to meeting the need is decided upon.

Action: Once the energy to move is in place and the approach is decided upon then the required course of action is initiated.

Contact: It is at this point that the individual makes full contact with their need and the resolution to it. This is when the action being taken and the need being met meet.

Resolution: The need has been met and resolution is now achieved. At this stage a feel of satisfaction is common as the individual no longer feels the pressure of the need that was responded to.

Withdrawal: This stage is the final one where rest comes. It can be thought of as sitting back after the completion of the various stages that have come before.

Waiting: This stage is characterised by outward facing awareness that is not driven by any particular need. It is an open state where individuals are ready for the next need they will respond to becoming figural.

At any one time an individual can be aware of dozens of needs with the stages past prioritisation and mobilisation being where they are prioritised. One example of this at an individual level would be feeling hungry but being in a meeting, so my need to stay is stronger than my need to find food. If we increase the scale of this to the organisational level then we begin to see where organisational resistances can kick in, i.e. I know that we need to change but my desire to maintain the current environment is greater.

Healthy individuals and organisations progress around this cycle from stage to stage dozens of times each day. But interuptions to that cycle can happen …

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