The House of Change: a great tool for navigating change

The House of Change is a great tool for understanding and dealing with the emotions we all experience in response to change, then getting to where you want to go!

It originates from the four rooms of change and will help you overcome your personal barriers to change.

House of Change: introduction

First, take a look at the structure of the house of change.

For example: you can’t go straight from Denial to Renewal… you go through Confusion first, and Confusion can take you in the wrong direction.

Find your current room

There are two ways of considering which room you are currently in:

  • What’s my current mood? (If I’ve just successfully finished a major project I’m in the room of contentment!)
  • Where have I spent most of my time in the past few weeks?

It’s more relevant to consider where you’re spending most of your time in the past few weeks, this is a better indicator of the challenges that you face.

It’s also useful to think about the changes that you are facing and how you want to focus your thinking as you explore the house of change.

Work related change could be:

  1. Starting a new job
  2. Organizational change that’s effecting you
  3. New projects or colleagues that are important to your success

Life related changes could be:

  1. Relationship loss
  2. Changes to your health
  3. Financial disruption

You can be in different rooms of the house depending on how you choose to focus your thinking. For example, you could be in the Cellar of Despair at work, but in the Room of Contentment at home.

Our guide to finding renewal, contentment (and the sundeck!)

Each room in the house of change requires certain attitudes and behaviors, to best deal with change.

Here’s our guide:

Denial and Despair. These two rooms look very alike. There’s a tendency to celebrate past glories, to defend the status-quo and to ‘shoot the messenger’ if anyone suggests it might be good for you to change.

If you’re in these rooms of the house of change, you need to make an extra effort to:

  • Listen and reflect on the advice of others (How to become a better listener)
  • Focus on the opportunities of change (a growth mindset will help)
  • See the ‘big picture’ of your life and how this change fits in
  • Start with small steps, and celebrate small successes to build some momentum

Confusion. Here you’ll have lots of ideas, you’ll get pulled in different directions. There’s a risk that you’ll get frustrated and lose confidence and momentum as you seek direction.

If you’re in this room, you need to:

  • Be patient with yourself
  • Enjoy the process of exploring, don’t be in too much of a rush (Learn, Unlearn, Relearn)
  • Try and anchor your activities by exploring what’s really important to you
  • Work towards setting your priorities, based on a clear direction and purpose for your life

Renewal. This is a good place to be! You’ll know you’re in this room when you have energy and enthusiasm, when you’re learning, when you’re flexible and creative.

If you’re in this room in the house of change, you need to:

The five responses to change will also help you navigate to this sweet spot.

Contentment. This is a good place to spend some time, but there are risks to staying in Contentment for too long. You may become complacent and sink down into Denial.

So if you’re in this room, you need to:

  • Enjoy the glow!
  • Reflect and recharge
  • Be mindful of time, don’t linger too long (how long is too long will depend on you!)
  • Consciously step back into Renewal, rather than unconsciously sinking into Denial

Use the House of Change with your team

Next time you’re leading your team through change, consider introducing them to the House of Change.

Introduce the House of Change at the start of a change initiative and explain that you’ll be using it as a reference tool through-out the change process.

In team meetings and 1-1s with your team members, check in with them to see which room of the house they’re in.

Use our guide above to help your team members find their way through the house.

And make sure that you find opportunities to take your team out onto the Sundeck!

Get comfortable with change

Explore growth mindset activities for adults.