The Many Cycles of Change

Change is one of the only constants in life. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, you are guaranteed to experience change on a regular basis. Some changes are small, some are BIG and other changes are everywhere in between. Despite the fact that change is constant, not everyone enjoys change … especially when it feels as though some change is thrust upon you and/or others.

A number of years ago, authors Ann Salerno and Lillie Brock developed the Change Cycle, a “map that depicts the human experience of each stage of change – in all changes, big or small, good or bad.” The map provides insight and understanding into why people are feeling, thinking, and behaving certain ways when experiencing change. It is an important reminder that there is always a ‘what’ behind the ‘why’ – why people are feeling certain emotions, thinking certain things, and behaving certain ways. It is also a great reminder that though people might be experiencing the same change experience, they are not always going to be in the same stage of the cycle of change.

Diagram of 6 stages of change

Next time change occurs in your life, whether it be personal or professional, hopefully this tool will prove to be helpful when seeking to understand yourself and others. Give yourself and others time to process the change and move through the various stages. It may not make the change any less difficult, but it has the very real potential to help make sense of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that are being experienced throughout the process.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Boian is a manager at Morrison working in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Jeff, reach out to him by email at or by phone at (530) 809-4679.


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