The Emotional Pathway of Change Management with Tricia Steege


In this episode, Tricia Steege joins me for a discussion that focuses on dealing with and navigating organizational change, as well as the emotional side of leadership. The conversation centers around the notion of change as an emotional journey, with Trisha explaining the William Bridges model of endings, neutral zone, and beginnings as stages individuals go through during change.

Tricia Steege

Tricia Steege is the founder and principal coach of Transformation Strategies, specializing in coaching and organizational change consulting. With over 40 years of experience as a trusted advisor, Tricia is dedicated to helping leaders explore the root causes of behaviors hindering their effectiveness. Her coaching methodology aims at identifying and transforming negative behavior patterns, resulting in improved leadership, collaboration, communication, and overall productivity. Tricia’s expertise extends to high-stakes change initiatives, including cultural change, talent development, and succession planning, where her support has facilitated faster global business results and quicker adoption rates.


Trisha highlights the importance for leaders to build trusting relationships with their teams, to understand their concerns and fears. Emphasizing the significance of leaders being conscious of their reactions and the impact these have on their team dynamics, Trisha also explains the importance of managing emotions for effective leadership.

We also talk about the validity and value of emotional intelligence in leadership and change management, along with the role of trauma as an often silent stakeholder in the process of change.

We talk about:

  • [0:00] Intro

  • [5:50] Getting into the world of change management

  • [8:10] What is missing in ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement)

  • [9:37] What is the William Bridges model

  • [13:28] Where people get stuck, or try to skip over

  • [18:47] Fear of not being relevant and losing logic when fear kicks in

  • [21:11] Do people move through the stages quickly as an overachiever? And what are the consequences from that

  • [27:41] Building relationships with direct reports to help them through the change journey

  • [32:09] Building trust and emotional connections between leaders and their direct reports

  • [34:11] Honing in on our reactivity

  • [35:46] Choosing to live in this conscious place and the business costs associated

  • [38:03] Suggestions to leaders to help elevate consciousness

  • [44:48] The importance of self awareness and the ability to manage emotions

  • [46:29] Rapid fire questions

I invite you to immerse yourself in this conversation with Tricia, as we tap into navigating organizational change, as well as the importance of the emotional side of leadership. You can find the full transcript of our conversation on my website, along with more information about Tricia and her work.

Thank you for being a part of my podcast community, and remember to stay tuned for more inspiring episodes to come!

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 Ask them, you know, what are some of their key concerns outside of how this is going to impact them and kind of do a scale on a scale of one to nine, you know, how concerned are you? What kind of fears do you have? Those kinds of things to help people get in touch with what their own emotions are, and then what that does is provide us as a changed leadership team, you know, information about what we might be seeing.

In the future, people aren’t going to come in and talk about their trauma, but it’s there and it plays out and it’s a big stakeholder in the process.


Carolyn: The guest I’m bringing on the show today is somebody, admittedly, I met through LinkedIn and I did not know the full scope of her practice, but she sent me a message after I posted a big loss. I guess some people could see it as a big capital F failure, but I got a really stinky review from a professional agency who reviews books and It, it was hard.

It was hard to get that feedback and I posted about it, how it felt difficult, but at the same time, I was really proud of what I wrote and. Tricia sent me a note telling me not to give up and that she found my message and what I was doing really helpful. I’m so happy to be bringing her on the show.

And when we first met. I didn’t realize her vast background, not only in coaching, but also in organizational change. And Tricia is the founder and principal of Transformation Strategies. I’m going to ask her about this background in change management and transformations. And blending it together with the behaviors and sort of the, the emotional side of change, you know, she’s had so she’s had decades and decades of experience being a trusted advisor to many leadership teams to C suites and really implementing these high stake change initiatives across many.

Organizations. As I said, Tricia is an associate certified coach through the ICF International Coaching Federation. She is also a certified trauma informed coach through the Center for Healing and holds a bunch of other degrees, including an M Ed in human resources education. And she’s also served as faculty at Penn State University, Great Valley.

And Temple University. Can’t wait for our conversation. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I know I’m going to enjoy talking to her.


Carolyn: Hello, evolved listeners. It’s Carolyn Swara here, your host and today’s guest. Oh, I’m so excited to talk to Trisha. Trisha Stiggy is going to be our guest today, and I think we’re going to have a fabulous conversation. Trisha, welcome to the show.

Tricia: Thanks, Carolyn. Great to be here.

Carolyn: Now, Tricia, we met on LinkedIn and I am embarrassed to say I did not return some of your like first messages to me, but we did reconnect when I finally was able to get caught up in a lot of things and why I wanted to have you on the show today was this really incredible connection that you made for me, which was this this connection between change management and OD work and what I talk about in my book around being trauma informed.

So, I thought that that would be a really great conversation to bring into the podcast today. 

And so can we start off by just hearing a little bit about your background in change management, just to kind of give the audience a sense of who you are and what you do.

Tricia: Sure. Really cut my teeth in the OD world and I’ve been doing this work for about 40 years. 

Carolyn: And she just said 40, not four, like four zero.

Tricia: 0.

I’m blessed with good, young looking 

Carolyn: Yeah. I was going to

say you. were working when you, were 10.

Tricia: And probably about 15 to 20 years ago, I was really starting to be called into organizations more. To work with technology implementation changes.

So setting up the whole framework and strategy and roadmaps, and then implementing all of those what occurred for me after doing this for some time was. One day, I just kind of sat back and with all the methods and processes that we have around what we know about change management we still have a lot of initiatives that aren’t working.

A lot of businesses are not getting the adoption that they want, realizing the return of investment. And I got. started to get very curious about this and realized kind of where I felt that it landed was lack of knowledge on the part of leaders around what their role really is during change and what some things, you know, need to be, they need to be aware of.

There was another simultaneously event that occurred for me at the time where I needed to really unpack and start looking at my own background, family of origin things, and how that was playing out in my own ability to lead effectively with clients and also with, you know, in my consulting work. And so that is where the.

Stories and realizations and marriage around trauma and change started to emerge for me, the Vertex.

Carolyn: Wow. 

And so let’s, let’s take a step back for those people who maybe aren’t as familiar with change management.

you’re prosci, I never say that word properly, prosci, prosci.

Tricia: hmm. Pro, yeah, well, nobody can, ProSci, ProSci. Sorry, sending the ProSci people.

Carolyn: And that is a, like, very standardized approach to change management proven, like, we’re not saying that that’s not valid, right? We’re saying that there’s methodology in there. That’s really important. And ADKAR, is ADKAR a part of ProSci?

Tricia: Yes, it is. It’s kind of the acronym for the different steps that you work through. So ProSci is kind of the brand, if you will. ADKAR is the actual process that you follow.

Carolyn: So, when you’re talking about working with technology companies and talking about transformation and hey, every company is going through transformation. What are those? Let’s just high level. What does ADCAR stand for as the methodology

for change? 

Tricia: Sure, Well, the, it’s kind of a checklist, if you will. A is acar, A-D-K-A-R, and a stands for the awareness that you’re creating in the organization around the particular change that you are trying to effect and implement. D stands for, oh, so. Step back. So the awareness piece, you know, in there, we’re doing communications.

We’re, you know, talking about what the vision and mission is of the particular change. D is the activities that we use to create the desire in order for people to really start engaging and supporting the initiative. K stands for the knowledge. So what is the kinds of training that you may need to implement alongside for people to be able to adopt the change?

And the next A is about the ability. So what are those skills and behaviors and how are they being you know, how well are they being adopted and, and used? And R is the reinforcement activities. So you go back and you look at where are there gaps in what, what we intended to do? And what do we need to do to close the gaps to reinforce the change adoption?

Carolyn: So like you said, checklist, things we need to do. 

And, from your learning from all these years of being in, in this world of ad car, what is, what is missing? What is missing there? Like, if you were to, to describe it, I know you, you, you, you said it earlier, but I wanna get really specific. What is missing from Acar or what do we need to pair it with to really help this transformational change

Tricia: I, I think pairing’s probably the better word because ADCAR has a lot of great things in it, and I by no means want to dismiss anything. For me, what I felt I needed to augment in the work is this real understanding of what happens to people. A deeper understanding of what happens.

so I use the William Bridges model a lot, which I can go into a little bit of deeper detail with you, but it really helps it’s a very simple model that of the emotions that people go through during change and how it shows up. And I think when you have that kind of understanding, coupled with all the.

I would say that the ADKAR model is a lot of the technical methods and processes that you need to use. I found that I needed to go deeper around the emotions of 

Carolyn: Right. 


Tricia: and so that’s why I paired up with the William Bridges model.

Carolyn: I remember when we had our first discussion a few weeks ago, you said that explicitly like ADCARD doesn’t address the emotional side. And Hey, when we’re trying to make these big changes in organizations, we are emotional beings. So it makes a lot of sense that you can, you, you combine these two things together.

So what’s a little like high level in terms of the emotional journey from William Bridges model.

Tricia: Yeah, and I just want to make sure that there’s not a misunderstanding. So I think the, the ProSci people would say that a lot of the emotion, Emotional things are addressed. I’ve just added to it and augmented to it. So, but the, the William Bridges, there’s clearly three phases that people go through.

At least this is with the model. And the first one is really about the endings. And so, when we are implementing a change, there are things that are going to be going away. There’s a lot of things that stay as is, and it’s just as important to reiterate those as much as it is to understand that people are needing to let go of things.

And you know, there’s always a lot of confusion and fear that is coupled up with that. So there’s an ending that’s occurring. And people are aware that there’s some kind of ending occurring and when we don’t have a lot of information, which oftentimes in change implementations, we don’t have all the information up front.

So we start to see a lot of reactions around, you know, anxiety and denial and lots of confusion and fear. Then when people, as people are moving through the emotional piece, the next place they go to is this. place called the neutral zone. And it’s kind of, it feels a little bit like purgatory. So we know that we haven’t, we’re not really, we know we have to let go of things.

People know they need to let go of things, but what the future looks like is not really yet clear. And so it’s kind of this holding place. And again, more people, I mean more kind of anxiety starts to get you’ll start seeing a lot more frustration, a lot higher levels of stress. But the wonderful thing about the neutral zone is really, it’s while all of those things are going on, it’s also a place A vertex where there’s any opportunity can happen.

So while there’s lots of stress and all that kinds of things with the unknown, there’s also a lot of opportunity to be very creative in that moment, because things aren’t where they were and they’re not set in stone yet where they’re going. So that’s the neutral zone. And then the third phase is the beginning.

And this is the phase where people begin to get a picture of what the future is going to look like. They start seeing the opportunity for themselves. They will be able to start getting embracing to it, moving emotionally towards it. You start to see people getting enthusiastic about where they’re going, a sense of relief and hopefulness come into play.

So that’s It at the high level, the William Bridges model. And it’s I’ve used it a lot in my conversations with leaders and individuals going through change. And it really helps them anchor how they’re feeling. Cause they can usually identify exactly where they are. And by the way, like anything, while these things are linear, the ADKAR model is linear.

We are not linear people. Right. And we move back and forth. it Can feel sometimes like two steps forward, one step back, or two steps back, one step forward. So, it’s important to understand that we move in and out of these different emotional places.

Carolyn: And that’s what I was going to ask you, Tricia, because it does seem like, okay, I’m in this first phase, like let’s hurry up and get to this neutral phase and like, let’s hurry up and get to the, the creative phase. What, what has been some of your learnings about these different stages and maybe like where people might get stuck or maybe do they try and skip over stages?

Tricia: Great, great question. And because we are, as humans… so uncomfortable in this place of not knowing. Oftentimes there is a real push and rush to get to the next stage. And by the way, this model is applicable in organizations as well as personal life. So if you have some kind of huge transition in your personal life, you’re going through a divorce or you, you know, you’re losing elderly parents or whatever.

Oftentimes people will rush to try and get to the better feelings and they tend to not pay attention to the grief process or the kinds of things that they need to wrestle through and make meaning of. And so in an organization that’s going through change again, I think the thing that we forget a lot about, I talk about the people’s past lives and experiences.

We all see things. through our own lenses of our lived experiences to date. And depending upon what kind of experiences you’ve had, your ability to really live in this question mark place and move through change is going to be dependent, you know, and informed by what you’ve gone through previously.

And the thing that I think that gets people stuck a lot people working through change is some of the behaviors that come up that hit them upside the head that they weren’t expecting. So, what happens during this whole letting go phase, if you, this is kind of why I call trauma as a silent stakeholder,

because what we do when we’re going through a change process of starting to implement, you know, we usually do the traditional stakeholder analysis kind of conversation we identify.

I don’t know if I, who is it that’s going to be impacted by this change? We go out and we talk to them about what they, what we need to be really focused on and thinking about. The thing that we don’t ask about as often and people have a hard time sharing is really maybe what’s really emotionally going on for them.

And typically a lot of the questions are, how is this going to infect my job? Am I going to lose my job? They’re thinking obviously about their. Am I going to still find purpose and value at this organization? And if you are an individual that has had a fairly trauma oriented background, your brain was, well, so what I mean by that is living in conditions where there was never security

or there was you know, all kind of, you know, maybe abuse or whatever you were, your brain conditioned you to be on the alert constantly.

Carolyn: Right. Yeah. I’m

Tricia: And because you’re in this fear place, you know, you’re insecure, you don’t know what’s next. So. Couple layer, a change. So you bring that with you into an organization. If you haven’t worked through and gotten healing of it, many people are very unconscious that this is going on for them. And then you layer a change initiative on top of it.

And all of a sudden you’re exacerbating these things and activating things that people may not even realize what has happened for them, but really it’s their brain just trying to protect them.

from the unknown. And so to your question, Caroline, about what is it we need to look about, look and think about, I think when we’re doing these kind of analysis, stakeholder analysis, you know, a really great question would be to build some personal relationship as you can with a person.

And, you know, ask them find out a little bit about them personally, personally. Without going into a therapy session, we’re not trying to do therapy, but ask them, you know, what are some of their key concerns outside of their, own, you know, how this is going to impact them, and kind of do a scale on a scale of one to nine, you know, how, how How concerned are you?

What kind of fears do you have? Those kind of things to help people get in touch with what their own emotions are. And then what that does is provide us as a changed leadership team, you know, information about what we might be seeing in the future. People aren’t going to come in and talk about their trauma, but it’s there and it plays out and it’s a big stakeholder in the process.

Carolyn: yeah. I mean, I think really simply because I know some people when they hear that T word, it’s like, oh, my gosh, I don’t want to go near it.

 And what I’m hearing you say is, let’s acknowledge that this is going to be an emotional journey and helping people understand, like, where, like, how safe and, and, I mean, again, that word might not be something that would resonate for people, but like what’s concerning you? What are some things that you would like answers around? And that just helps, like you said, helps our brain and helps us be, it, it can stop the stories that we might make up from proliferate from proliferating. I think it also really addresses this innate fear that, that comes up in everybody.

I don’t think it matters what level about this fear of irrelevance, it’s really

easy to go to like, Oh my gosh, they’re not going to need me at all. And, and now as you and I both know, and I think many of the listeners know when we are in this state of like a limbic state or like emotion

driving the wheel, we can’t access the logic. So,

Tricia: Yeah, and we lose, you start seeing, this is kind of what’s so fascinating to me when it’s always kind of a learning lab for me When I have clients that are freaking out because of what people are saying or doing and I have to constantly remind them This is very normal. You’re gonna start seeing people trying to protect their territory or withhold information or they can’t make decisions quickly and all of those things that happen because of that amygdala hijack that you’re talking about.

We’re not in the executive, calm, regulated thinking stage. We are about protection.

Carolyn: Yeah. Yeah. Now, when you were talking about those three stages, I’m just going to use myself as an example. Maybe you can tell me if there are other people out there like me. I Was not aware of what the word trauma meant. And I know you read my book, so you know a little bit about that story and anyone else looking in probably would look at that and be really Carolyn.

You didn’t know that that was trauma. I just didn’t know. I thought. Trauma was like this huge event. I now know that it is, you know, I like to use like an emotional wound or just when things are happening and you’re not able to manage it emotionally in the situation. 

So looking back, I had a lot of, of trauma in my life. How that showed up for me with change is this, I. Became an overachiever and very ambitious to be the best at everything. And so when I think of that model that you’ve just talked about, I would race through the first stage right? Like the, the kind of grieving what you’re losing. I’d be like, whatever, I don’t need this like neutral stage.

Cause come on, I want to be at the front of the line and I would. Get into the let’s move forward with everything stage. Do you see that happen a lot? And what are the, what are the consequences for leaders when we do that?

Tricia: Another great question. I’m always. I’m always so really impressed by the questions you ask him. So we do see that a lot because of what I was saying, that feeling of uncomfortableness of having to let go of the known and move towards the unknown. And so we were,

Carolyn: I, can

I just say one thing there, Tricia, is it was an unconscious fear. Like I thought I was being a good leader by just jumping into that last stage. So I just want to acknowledge it was so ingrained in me to not pay attention to, and this was me ingraining it. This was just how my body worked is just move through that Carolyn. You got to get right to the end. So sorry to interrupt, but I think that’s important for, for us as we’re learning to get more in tune with the emotions, telling us things in our body.

Tricia: Yes. Yes. Thank you. No, I’m glad you, you mentioned that. Yeah. A lot of this. This is unconscious, which I think is what our work is about, Carolyn, helping people become more conscious about it. We move so automatically through our lives. And we let things guide us and dictate us without making conscious, conscious, intentional decisions about things.

And I would submit that potentially this unconscious thing about trying to get through the stage may have been rooted in what we all worry about is, you know, am I going to get cut out? How am I going to belong? I need to show I’m on board and that I can perform that, you know, I’m good enough to be here.

I’m good enough to be able to absorb, you know, what you’re, what you’re throwing out in the organization. And the outcomes of that can be at the backend or even while you’re trying to implement. If you don’t give yourself or the people that you’re asking to go through this change, enough time to process through things, feel their feelings, even if they aren’t feeling their feelings and trying to move through, slowing it down a bit to allow them to be able to move through.

The stages that they need to, because I’ll tell you what happens. And you see this during change implementations all the time in organizations, we got, we have huge deadlines, technology needs to be done in 30 days, you know, and that’s kind of, and they’re trying to rush people through. What happens at the end?

They roll the thing out technology and nobody uses it because they haven’t taken the time to allow people to really absorb, make meaning of what this is for them and it backfires. It can backfire during the implementation stage too, where you start seeing resistance or people will go to a meeting and say they’re on board and then go back and not pay attention or bad mouth things or whatever.

So it is important. That’s, I think, I don’t know, am I answering your question? You were saying you’re trying to move unconsciously through this, but.

Carolyn: Yeah, I just, I, and I’ve experienced this a lot too, and working with amazing people with this, like, we have to have pace. We have to get this done now, you know, we’ve got deadlines and I just find that change. Usually takes twice as long as what we’d like our thinking brain to do.

Tricia: Yeah, I had a friend once and I love this saying, technology rollout does not equal adoption. So

Carolyn: Yeah.

Tricia: the adoption conversation, people have to make a personal decision to change. It is a very personal decision. And you as a leader, this kind of gets more into why I focus so much on working with leaders to help them understand or change leadership. Roles and responsibilities, because just because you roll out a new technology doesn’t mean that people are going to really adopt it and follow it.

Unless you take away their old. And then of course you get compliance. They don’t have any other choice, but

what we really want when we’re rolling out change initiatives is the hearts and minds to be embracing things.

Carolyn: And I remember you said to me, adopting change is a heart issue.

Tricia: Yes. 

Carolyn: And so often, again, if I come back to like scooching through unconsciously the emotions, I was there mentally like, yeah, count me in, check, check, check. But that connection to it and the why and being connected to the why of it, that can get lost in the shuffle pretty easily. Which means we then just sort of, like, robotically do things and we lose that connection to maybe the bigger purpose of our organization or the bigger purpose of the transformation.

Tricia: I’m adventurous. People are sitting here listening to this. I’ve got, if they’re probably yeah, this is all well and good, Trish and Carolyn, but I’ve got six major things on my calendar. I don’t have time to really sit and. Deal with this because I’ve got, you know, six major initiatives going on and I get that I think we’re seeing some of the symptoms and mental health issues because of some of these.

Not really paying attention kind of thing too much.

Carolyn: So what. 

What would you suggest for leaders, or what are some things you do with leaders to help that relationship that they have with their direct reports to not coddle them through change because we’re not saying that, but kind of to be to be with each other together, because, you know, leaders can have fear just as much too.

But how can we like. Take this journey together.

Tricia: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I mean, if you think about the role, so we, when we’re leading change initiatives and supporting leaders as the change team, we need to be really aware of the life that they’re living day to day too, because oftentimes we just toss. Communications over the wall and make sure you go do this and tell your people this.

But if you look at the role of a leader during change, it’s very complex. You know, they’re playing multiple roles. They’re playing a coach kind of role where they need to be encouraging and supporting. They need to be communicating. So helping create awareness and communicating and answering questions.

We’re then asking them to be advocates of it. So they may not even believe in the particular change, but they’re supposed to have the great smiley face and, you know, support the organization. Then we asked them to be helping to manage the resistance of the people on their team. So they become that, you know, resistance manager.

We asked them that also to be our liaison. So they are our eyes and ears into their teams. To be reporting back to us about what are they seeing, how well are they seeing people embrace it. Then, of course, they are trying to go through their own process at the time that they’re asked all of this is going on.

And on a change process, emotional process. And on top of all of this, they’re, they’re being asked to keep their day to day operations up and going. So it’s, it’s a lot on their plate. And I think that the number one job really of a leader is to be really spending a lot of time building trust, building those trust filled relationship teams with each one of his or her direct reports.

This becomes even more crucial. During the change because as I just said that individual needs to make the decision to do that change and adopt the change and if a Person has a really strong trusting relationship with their leader They will run through walls for that leader because they know that leader has their back.

So that’s their number one job now the question becomes How do you build that trust? And there’s certain things that I, you know, encourage people about to do to build trust. If you’re interested in hearing more about that.

Carolyn: Yeah, well, and you know, I do. I think that’s actually a natural place to go. I think one of the things that you just said there is yes. People will run through a wall for you when, when they know you have their back. I’m going to just offer an additional way to describe that. That just came to me as you were speaking, which is we will run through walls When we have a connection that is not just a mental, when there is, when I feel seen and heard, and so I’ll come back, I like to talk a lot about the three centers of intelligence, but when I have a heart connection or like a relational connection with somebody, and that can look different, it doesn’t mean we have to be best friends and go out together and text, but it can mean that I’ve seen you consistently demonstrate Create.

That you

understand the value and the work that I do, that that’s what I mean by an emotional connection. And I think, you know, and the reason I’m saying this is I, I hope leaders don’t feel like they always have to be the one like running ahead and come on, everybody follow me. Like I’m the one in charge. I think these days it’s, it’s really like, how can we do this together? Cause you know, there’s so many things that come at us. So if we look at trust as building emotional connection. But, and that’s going to look different again, based on what I just said.

 So what are some of the things that you’ve seen leaders do or that you talk about, Tricia, to help build that emotional connection between leaders and their direct reports and their teams?

Tricia: and I really love that, Carolyn, it puts it much more in a partnership kind of role where we’re moving through this together. I love that connection. But as far as building trust, I think 1st off, we really, I encourage leaders that they really need to understand the presence of life perspectives in the organization, the prevalence of trauma.

And I know that trauma may be a word that’s skittish for people. The reality is we have. All is a world gone through some fairly significant events in the last years. Obviously with COVID and also with some of the racial, we have organizations that are really trying to up their game around diversity understanding, and so really understanding that this does exist and that people have different perspectives in the way that they view things and look at things.

And really you know, even being as an emotionally intelligent leader or somebody who’s building their own emotional intelligence, understanding that they have their own reactions to things and that they need to be aware of where some of their own reactions and. Emotional activations are rooted, and it could be something that had happened to them in the past.

By being this way, by understanding the prevalence, and then also being, you know, becoming more aware of their own, things, they’re being more self aware. Becoming more emotionally intelligent. It will help build those connecting pieces, you know, getting curious about where other people’s perspectives are coming from, Yeah, go 

Carolyn: just,

 I just want to take a sec, take a moment to. really kind of hone in on what you said there because reactivity, we all have it. And some of that reactivity might be a little bit more assertive and maybe in your face. And some of that reactivity might be a little bit more like leaning back.

I’m going to be a little bit quieter here, but it’s important to point out that. We all have it and the self awareness of knowing when it shows up is so crucial so that when we choose to like get intense and lean in or we choose to go back, we’re doing it with intention versus unconsciously doing it. That’s where I’ve seen. The challenge for leaders is the unconscious response versus like, no, we need a little bit more of leaning back or a little bit more

of leaning in. And that’s in fact, what my whole evolve model was built around. These 2 things we’re talking about. What’s your reactivity patterning and. And what does connection look like for you? Those two things really help address what you said. I thought it was a brilliant quote is that trauma is the silent stakeholder in any of these change processes, that’s a really crucial step in being trauma informed because it creates safety and consistency

for the people that we work with. So, I just, I wanted to highlight that. I think reactivity is such an important aspect for

us to be aware 

Tricia: Well, and I think I appreciate you stopping, you know, along the way, this whole conversation to highlight different things in different. I just think it’s so hard for leaders today with all of the stuff that’s coming to them to really, I don’t have an answer for this, but how do I, as a leader with everything that’s on my plate, have time to live in this conscious place?

Because everything I’m doing is so hard. Unconscious and I don’t have time to be conscious about all of these things and I guess that’s the challenge is how do we start living our lives in a more intentional, conscious way?

Carolyn: of. that Was a brilliant comment, Tricia. Like, I don’t have time to live in this conscious place. I don’t think we have the, I guess the way I would look at that, or the way I’ve chosen to wake up to it is I don’t have the heart, to be unconscious anymore.  And, and it can take some events. It can take some big events to wake us up.

Sometimes those are health events or things we see with our loved ones, or like you said, all the collective pain that is around us and this real sense of that’s my sense is that’s what, that’s, what’s really surfing, surfacing for people. And this unconsciousness is. Making us feel helpful or helpless

Tricia: Yes. Yeah. And of course, the end result, like from a, from a business perspective and cost, this is becoming very costly in our organizations with health issues, with, you know, health premiums going up, attrition where we have people leaving because they just don’t want to work like this anymore. Productivity, performance, all those things that we 

Carolyn: delays, like cost delays or cost like additional costs required because it’s taking longer.

Tricia: Yeah. And then this is where just, it’s a crazy merry go round that we need to start figuring out how to ride in a more conscious way.

Carolyn: Yeah. And so. What would be, you know, as we wrap up, it’s already been 40 minutes. did that go? 

What are some things then that you would suggest to leaders with all of your experience in this space to help elevate the consciousness, the self awareness

Tricia: Well I think really it’s just being, one thing is just being aware. When you start seeing some of the reactions and everything. Don’t let it sidetrack you or, you know, catch you off guard. Understand that these are normal reactions that people have during change and they could be exacerbated for other reasons.

It’s not your job as a leader to necessarily unpack the genesis of all of this. But if you are interested in trying to create those connecting relationships, Then be aware that it’s going on and be curious.

Carolyn: and, and what does being curious with it look like and what might a reaction look like? Let’s use you and I, as an example, you’re my boss. What’s something that I might do that might not be great. And how could you be curious with that?

Tricia: Maybe you find out you’ve had a meeting with the team and you’ve all agreed with things and then somehow you find out later on that you’ve gone out and started bad mouthing, you know, or talking against whatever agreement. That you’ve made and if I was your leader I would want to have a conversation, you know, tell me, tell me a little bit about what’s going on for you.

Why is this not working? It’s just a lot of question answering and being open to the response. And of course, you have to have some kind of trust base in order for that person

to be willing to. share with you and be vulnerable. So that’s, you know, and if it’s not there and you want to start building it, you know, you’ve got to put some emotional deposits in that person’s bank account basically, and listen, not react in the moment, not cause them to feel shame.

This is just about hearing, help me understand how I can help you get on board differently, get buy in. That kind of thing, you just become a shock absorber for that individual. Yes,

Carolyn: you asking me that question and me maybe saying, well, yeah, I did feel that way. I didn’t want to say anything in the group cause I didn’t want to sort of make you look bad boss, Tricia. And now we’re having a conversation. About fear about concern and you’ve opened that door versus you charging in saying, Carolyn, you can’t talk about this after, like, get your ass in here and talk to me directly.

Right? And I’ll be like, oh, my gosh, what? Yeah,

Tricia: because that’ll just shut them down even more. And, you know, it was a whole other conversation about how we are, how are we helping mitigate shame in the organization or enhancing it? And, you know, how that gets in the way. So, but being curious and asking questions, nonjudgmental, as much as possible, being open will help.

You know, create that conversation and minimize the shame that could be because that person might be embarrassed. Oh, my God, you found out like Carolyn, you, you would say, how did she find out? And then you start wondering who said what to me as a leader and all of it. You know, all of the conversation gets what’s the word I want?

You’re not really dealing with the real issue, 

Carolyn: Right. Right. You’re dealing with all the

Tricia: distracting. Distracting. Yeah.

Carolyn: And let’s get clear too, like shame at its core is really like, I feel alone and isolated and that I’m not good enough. 

And we don’t always hear those voices or that, that messaging. I’m not good enough, but it can sound more like, Oh, I’m not going to talk about this. Trisha’s not going to want to hear what I have to say because she’s the boss and

I’m just like, you know, a worker. Those are some of the subtle ways that shame can just like disconnect us.

Tricia: Yes. Yes. Well,

Carolyn: So that was, that was one thing is to like have make some spaces to connect and understand how people are doing.

What might be something else, Trisha, that you would suggest to leaders?

Tricia: I would say get people involved as much as possible because that really helps them to feel part of creating something going forward. It makes them feel a little bit more in the know. So oftentimes when we’re rolling out change initiatives you’ll see ambassador networks where we’re asking, you know, people in the really deep in the organization to kind of be.

a Person, a trusted colleague that people can go to and ask questions or have conversations around the water cooler or really voice their opinions or concerns, um, you know, that allows people to feel a part of creating where they’re going forward or having the voice in the process. So that’s really important.


Carolyn: And

Are those formal networks then or sort of

Tricia: yeah, we’ll change, yes, there’ll be formal networks that are set up where if I’m leading if I’m representing on the change team, I have my networks across the organization that I’m working with to try and roll out communications and make sure messages are getting down deeper in the organization because we know what happens when you only communicate.

Or often happens when you’re communicating at the higher levels, it doesn’t get down intentionally or not intentionally. Things just get in the way. So these are people, you know, on the front lines, the actual users that we would have that would be representative of each function and they become our liaisons back while we’re asking them to communicate out.

What are you hearing on what’s the scuttlebutt going on that we need to be aware of that will help us with the change if leaders. Allow their people to get involved in that way. Not only does it give them a sense of, you know, being a part of it, but then they feel like important and that they belong.


Carolyn: right. And that brings safety. It sort of just settles that maybe if we’ve had a previous history of a lot of change, not having control, it’s sort of a sense of, Oh, I’ve got a little bit of agency here.

Tricia: Yes, yes, yes, absolutely.

Carolyn: And Tricia, what might be the final sort of piece of insight that you could share with, with people?

Tricia: I don’t know that I have any, I mean, we’ve gone to a lot of different places on this conversation and we’ve had a lot of different tools, you know, I, I just think, I guess I want to just reiterate the importance of self awareness of you as a leader, and being really focused on creating your own.

Ability to manage your own emotions because anything that your team is doing in reaction will, you know, it can feel very personal to you as a leader also. And then, you know, so just being clear and, and working really hard to be managing your own emotions and take care of yourself in the moment too.

Carolyn: I think that’s wonderful. Wonderful advice. anD Tricia, where could our listeners find you, get in touch with you, learn more about the work that you do?

Tricia: Folks can go to my website, which is short for transform, my company’s name is Transformation Strategies. And they can find out about the kinds of work I’ve done on my website, at www. transformstrat. com, short for Transformation Strategies.


Carolyn: goes in the show notes too.

Tricia: thank you. And, you know, I have a lot of articles on there and blogs and infographics, all kinds of tools and resources that people can be using.

Carolyn: Fantastic. And I know you’re on LinkedIn cause that’s where

we originally met. So people can find you there as well.

Tricia: Yes,

Carolyn: Beautiful, beautiful.

 Well, Tricia, to end off the podcast, I usually ask three questions that are grounded in my model that I created in EVOLVE, the Path to Trauma Informed Leadership. Are you, are you a willing participant to come in

and answer these three questions? All right. Well, the first one’s around self awareness and, and just an opportunity to share you know, a time where your self awareness really, like you learned something that you did not know about yourself.

Tricia: Oh my goodness. I think there’s many instances and I kind of want to just. Talk a little bit about when I find myself having some kind of reaction to something that doesn’t feel real good. I Really want to start with why is this going on? what’s this activating for me?

Why am I having this reaction? Because that allows me to usually slow down and get clear. Any kind of interaction usually has validity to it and both. Parties are usually have some kind of role in it and it’s important to, to own that. So, when I find myself, you know, having a negative response towards somebody.

I really, I really take time to sit down, ask myself, what is it that is going on for you here? Why do you think you’re having this reaction?

Carolyn: Wonderful.

Tricia: you, ultimately it gets back to the core that we’ve been talking about. Somehow I’m feeling rejected, unaccepted, unapproved of, not belonging. I think so many of those things are rooted in.

So much of the coaching work I do when we really start unpacking things, it always gets down to that. So

Carolyn: Yeah. Wow. Thank you. Thank you, 

Trisha. Now the second question is about emotional regulation, self regulation. So is there a practice or ritual that you have that Brings you maybe more into a regulated state or more of a calmer state.

Tricia: yeah, it’s probably going to sound trite, but I do find that breathing, taking very deep breaths and really While I’m taking the breath in, I have this image of the ocean side, and when the, when the waves are coming into the, to the sand, to the ocean side, bringing me peace and relaxation, and when they’re going out, they’re taking away all of my stress.

So when I breathe in, I imagine the ocean wave coming into me and just bringing me peace and calmness and clarity. And as I breathe out, Stress is going away, you know, anger, just releasing things and that I used to think when people would talk about, well, just breathe. I’d be, oh, this is so hokey, but I have, you know, with my learning about what goes on for us and getting more steeped in neuroscience and everything.

I realized how critical this is and how it really It’s an unconscious thing, but it really helps our bodies calm down.

Carolyn: Yeah. Well, it’s I know from one of the teachers I’m learning from right now, Lynn Fraser, what I’ve learned from her is, or Fraser, not Fraser, Fraser it’s, it tells your, it tells your brain I’m safe. It’s, it’s the best way to just tell your brain right here in the here and now I’m okay.

Tricia: Yeah. 

Carolyn: take

that deep intentional breath.

I love how you’ve paired it with a visualization as well.

Tricia: Yeah. I love it.

So Yeah.

Carolyn: Now, my last question, Tricia, has to do with co regulation and I find music is just an amazing way to feel bigger than, you know, be part of something bigger than me. Music just really does that for me. So the question I ask all the the guests is what is a song or genre of music that makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself?

Thank you.

Tricia: Yeah, I love this question and The song that came to me, well two different songs, they’re both spiritual songs. One is how great thou art. So I’m a strong believer and things go on in this world that are much bigger than I can handle and even fathom. And so I try and remember I’m not in control. And then Amazing Grace, to both of those songs usually kind of keep perspective for me.

Carolyn: Yeah, I, I was just last week in Memphis, Tennessee and went to, went to Graceland. And when I think of Elvis, those are two songs that I associate with him. My aunt used to listen to that cassette tape. And there is something very, you know, regardless of, of someone’s faith or beliefs, there is something, I agree with you, that’s just sort of at a different level with those songs. And for me, Elvis gets attached to those songs as well.

Tricia: Yeah, I don’t think about this, but

Carolyn: We all have our different places. We’ll go with it. But yeah, for me, it’s Elvis. Well, Tricia, it has been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show and thank you so much for coming on and sharing all these decades of wisdom,

Tricia: it’s been wonderful. I really thank you for, allowing me the opportunity to share what I’ve learned. And I really valued your perspective from, you know, your leadership role. And having those, you know, reminding me of what goes on in a leader’s head. And so thank you so much. I’ve been very honored to be asked to be here.

Carolyn: Yeah. And thank you to all the listeners who have tuned in for this episode, please let us know what you think. Also, if you can like and subscribe, that would be much appreciated. And Hey, let some of your friends and coworkers know about the great content that guests like Tricia are sharing with us on this show. Thanks again for tuning in everyone.

So, you know, by now, I always like to reflect after these conversations and what I am really reflecting on after this conversation with Tricia is this emotional pathway through change and. I’ve always been told, Oh, Carolyn, you’re so good with change and I’ve prided myself on it. Like, yes, you can throw me anything professionally, personally, and I will get through it.

And this conversation with Tricia was a fantastic, I’m going to say eye opener, cause I don’t know if I truly had put it all together using this model, but I like to whip through change really fast. I like to get to the front of it. And what I’ve realized in this conversation is. That’s a coping mechanism.

It’s a way to try and get ahead of it, to try and control it. And my desire to get to the front end of change, to be creative and, and adaptable hasn’t always served me well. I have suppressed emotions. I haven’t given myself the space to explore. What does this really mean? What could happen? And to really emotionally and mentally go through it and plan a little bit better.

Maybe you felt some similar aspects to how you go through change. Maybe you’re at the other end and change is not something you like to go through and it takes you longer. There’s no right way here. I think through this conversation with Trisha is understanding and slowing down and having the awareness to know if you’re going too fast or going too slow to just sort of check in with yourself.

You know, we’re back to self awareness. It really is. It’s really hard to lead others when we are not doing a good job leading ourself. One of the biggest things that I have learned over the past five years. So I hope this conversation has given you more nuggets, more insight to help you lead yourself in a more conscious, intentional way.

Thanks as always for tuning in. Really, really appreciate you listening to the guests that come on. And I’m really excited for some of the future guests that we’ve got lined up for you as well to really help you evolve and bring a new lens to leadership. Take care. Bye for now. 

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