Navigating Change

Embracing Transformation: Navigating Change with Nicola McFadden-Marvin’s 6V Curve

It is with both warmth and insight that we introduce the “6V Change Curve” by Nicola McFadden-Marvin, a concept that has evolved from its original incarnation in her inspiring work, “Rebound Faith: Chayah.” Originally composed of five stages, Nicola has meticulously extended her model to include a sixth element, “Virtues.” This addition is not merely an extension but a crucial component that addresses the sustenance of change within organizational cultures and individual mindsets. Nicola understands that for the transformation to be enduring, it must permeate the character, conduct, community, and culture, thereby fostering an environment ripe for continuous evolution.

Change, as Nicola astutely observes, is the only constant in life, and yet, it remains one of our greatest challenges. Through her compassionate lens and compelling methodology, she assists individuals, teams, and organizations in navigating the tumultuous seas of change. She recognizes the ambiguity, uncertainty, and complexity that so often accompany change, and she offers a beacon of clarity that guides towards breakthrough improvements and the pinnacle of success, whether in personal endeavors, leadership, or business ventures.

Nicola’s approach is innovative and multifaceted, combining personal, professional, and leadership development with strategic management, change management, inspirational storytelling, and social learning. Her methods are not only educational but also engaging, empowering, and elevating, lifting her clients to new heights of understanding and achievement. She tackles the process of change with a blend of empathy and compassion, understanding the human element that is so crucial in the journey of transformation.

With the “6V Change Curve,” Nicola invites us on a transformative journey where change is demystified and embraced. It’s a journey of introspection and growth, where the virtues of perseverance, adaptability, and resilience are not only encouraged but celebrated. Nicola McFadden-Marvin stands as a guiding light, illuminating the path to a future where change is not feared but harnessed as a powerful tool for personal and collective advancement.

“6V” Change Management Process

The “6V” Change Management Process is a structured approach to managing personal or organizational change, focusing on navigating through various emotional and psychological stages. Here’s an outline of the process with steps and explanations for each “V”:

1. Violation

  • Definition: This stage represents the initial shock or resistance faced when change is first introduced. It’s characterized by feelings of violation, as the change disrupts the status quo or personal comfort zones.
  • Management Actions:
    • Acknowledge the Impact: Recognize and validate the feelings of loss or disruption caused by the change.
    • Communicate Transparently: Provide clear information about the reasons for the change and its potential impacts.
    • Support Systems: Establish support mechanisms to help individuals process their initial reactions.

2. Venting

  • Definition: After the initial shock, individuals enter a phase of expressing frustration, anger, or anxiety. Venting is a crucial process for emotional release and should be allowed within a supportive environment.
  • Management Actions:
    • Create Safe Spaces: Facilitate forums or sessions where individuals can express their concerns and feelings without judgment.
    • Listen Actively: Ensure that leadership and support teams actively listen to the concerns being raised, showing empathy and understanding.
    • Address Concerns: Where possible, provide solutions or explanations to address the concerns being vented.

3. Valley of Despair

  • Definition: This stage is marked by low morale and motivation as the reality of the change sets in. Individuals might feel overwhelmed, hopeless, or stuck.
  • Management Actions:
    • Enhance Communication: Keep lines of communication open and frequent, updating on progress and how individual efforts are making a difference.
    • Provide Training and Resources: Offer the necessary tools, resources, and training to help individuals adapt to the change.
    • Encourage Small Wins: Highlight and celebrate small achievements to boost morale and show progress.

4. Vision

  • Definition: The turning point where individuals begin to see the potential benefits and positive outcomes of the change. A clear vision of the future post-change becomes apparent.
  • Management Actions:
    • Articulate the Vision: Clearly and compellingly describe the future state and the benefits of the change.
    • Align Roles and Goals: Help individuals see their role in the new future, aligning their personal goals with the change objectives.
    • Inspire Engagement: Use inspirational communication to motivate and engage individuals in the change process.

5. Vow

  • Definition: In this stage, individuals commit to the change, making a personal or collective vow to move forward and support the new direction.
  • Management Actions:
    • Foster Ownership: Encourage individuals to take ownership of the change, giving them autonomy and responsibility in the new system.
    • Set Clear Expectations: Define clear expectations and success metrics, providing a roadmap for what is to come.
    • Support Commitment: Offer continuous support, resources, and encouragement to maintain commitment to the change.

6. Virtues

  • Definition: The final stage where the benefits of the change are realized and integrated into the new normal. The virtues of the change process become apparent, and a positive shift in culture and performance is observed.
  • Management Actions:
    • Celebrate Success: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and hard work of all involved in the change process.
    • Incorporate Feedback: Use the experience and feedback from the change process to inform future initiatives.
    • Sustain Improvements: Implement mechanisms to sustain the improvements made, ensuring that the virtues of the change are embedded in the organization’s fabric.

Implementing the “6V” Change Management Process requires thoughtful planning, empathy, and strong leadership to guide individuals and organizations through the emotional and psychological journey of change.

The “6V Change Curve” graphically represents the emotional and performance levels through the six stages of change: Violation, Venting, Valley of Despair, Vision, Vow, and Virtues. As depicted, the curve starts with negative emotional levels during the initial stages of Violation and Venting, dips further in the Valley of Despair, then ascends as individuals move through Vision and Vow, and reaches a positive peak at Virtues. This visualization aids in understanding the psychological journey individuals and organizations undergo during the change process, highlighting the critical turning points towards positive adaptation and growth.

1. Violation

To delve deeper into the “Violation” stage of the change management process, let’s explore the psychological impacts, the importance of empathy, and strategic actions for managing this critical phase.

Psychological Impacts

During the Violation stage, individuals often experience a range of intense emotions:

  • Shock and Denial: A reflex response to protect oneself from the immediate impact of the change.
  • Fear and Uncertainty: Concerns about the unknown and how the change will affect personal and professional life.
  • Sense of Loss: Feeling a loss of control, comfort, or familiarity with the previous state.

Understanding these psychological impacts is crucial for managing this stage effectively. The goal is to move individuals from a state of resistance to one of openness to the change process.

Importance of Empathy

Empathy plays a pivotal role in this stage. Leaders and change managers must:

  • Show Understanding: Demonstrate genuine concern and understanding of the emotions and reactions of those affected by the change.
  • Be Patient: Recognize that acceptance of change is a process and that individuals move through this process at different speeds.
  • Build Trust: Use empathetic communication to build trust, showing that leadership is mindful of the impacts and committed to supporting the team through the transition.

Strategic Actions for Managing the Violation Stage

Acknowledge the Impact

  • Personalize the Approach: Tailor communication and support to meet the diverse needs and reactions of the team members.
  • Visibility of Leadership: Leaders should be visibly engaged, showing their commitment to the change and to supporting their teams.

Communicate Transparently

  • Provide Detailed Context: Explain not just the “what” and the “how,” but importantly, the “why” behind the change. Understanding the rationale can help mitigate feelings of violation.
  • Two-Way Communication: Encourage feedback and questions. This not only helps in clarifying doubts but also in making the team feel heard and valued.

Support Systems

  • Peer Support Groups: Facilitate the formation of peer support groups where individuals can share experiences and coping strategies.
  • Professional Support: Offer access to professional counseling services for those who may need extra support navigating their emotions.
  • Training and Development: Provide training sessions that prepare individuals for the upcoming changes, focusing on skill development and adaptation strategies.

Moving Forward

Successfully managing the Violation stage sets a positive foundation for the subsequent stages of the change management process. It’s about turning initial resistance into informed curiosity and openness to explore the change further. By acknowledging the emotional responses, communicating the necessity and benefits of the change, and providing ample support, leaders can guide their teams through the initial turmoil and onto a path of acceptance and adaptation.

2. Venting

Delving deeper into the “Venting” stage within change management, we examine the underlying dynamics of this emotional phase, the critical role of empathy and active listening, and the strategic approaches to effectively navigate through it.

Understanding the Dynamics of Venting

Venting serves as an essential emotional outlet that allows individuals to express their frustrations, anger, anxiety, or any other intense emotions caused by the change. This stage is vital for several reasons:

  • Emotional Processing: It facilitates the emotional processing necessary for individuals to eventually accept and adapt to change.
  • Reduction of Tension: By expressing emotions, individuals can reduce internal tension and begin to move towards rational understanding and acceptance of the change.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Venting offers leaders and change managers valuable insights into the concerns, fears, and potential resistance within the team.

The Role of Empathy and Active Listening

Empathy and active listening are the cornerstones of effectively managing the Venting stage:

  • Empathy: Demonstrating empathy involves acknowledging and validating the emotions being expressed. It’s about showing genuine care and understanding, making individuals feel seen and heard.
  • Active Listening: This requires full attention and engagement with the speaker, showing interest, and responding appropriately. It’s not just about hearing the words but understanding the emotions and meanings behind them.

Strategic Approaches to Managing Venting

Create Safe Spaces

  • Structured Forums: Organize regular, structured forums like town hall meetings, workshops, or focus groups where employees can openly discuss their concerns and feelings about the change.
  • Informal Settings: Encourage informal settings, such as coffee chats or virtual meet-ups, where employees can talk in a more relaxed environment.
  • Online Platforms: Utilize online platforms or intranet forums where employees can anonymously post their thoughts and feelings if they prefer not to speak openly.

Listen Actively

  • Reflective Listening: Practice reflective listening by paraphrasing or summarizing what the speaker has said to ensure understanding and validation.
  • Non-Defensive Responses: Respond to criticism or concerns without defensiveness. Acknowledge the validity of emotions and perspectives, even if solutions are not immediately available.
  • Follow-Up: Demonstrate that the venting session has value by following up on concerns raised, indicating that the leadership is actively considering and addressing them.

Address Concerns

  • Immediate Addressing: Where possible, provide immediate explanations or solutions to the concerns raised. This shows responsiveness and commitment to resolving issues.
  • Long-Term Solutions: For concerns that cannot be immediately resolved, outline a plan or timeline for how they will be addressed. Keeping employees updated on progress is crucial.
  • Empowerment: Empower employees by involving them in finding solutions to their concerns. This can transform negative energy into positive, proactive engagement.

Moving Forward

Effectively managing the Venting stage is about more than just allowing space for emotional expression; it’s about actively engaging with and addressing the emotions and concerns that come to light. By doing so, change managers can mitigate resistance, foster a culture of openness and trust, and pave the way for a smoother transition through the subsequent stages of change management. This empathetic and proactive approach not only helps in the immediate context of the change but also strengthens the overall resilience and adaptability of the organization for future changes.

3. Valley of Despair

The “Valley of Despair” stage represents a critical juncture in the change management process, where individuals are grappling with the realities of the change and its impact on their professional lives. Understanding the nuances of this stage and employing targeted management actions can significantly aid in navigating through it.

Understanding the Valley of Despair

This stage is characterized by several key psychological and emotional responses:

  • Overwhelm and Hopelessness: The accumulation of changes and adjustments can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, with some individuals experiencing a sense of hopelessness about the future.
  • Resistance to Change: As the initial shock wears off, the long-term implications of change become clearer, potentially leading to increased resistance.
  • Doubt and Questioning: Individuals may begin to question the purpose and potential success of the change, doubting whether the outcomes will justify the disruption to their routines.

Strategic Management Actions

Enhance Communication

  • Transparent and Consistent Updates: Provide regular updates about the change process, including challenges faced and progress made. Transparency fosters trust and reduces uncertainty.
  • Personalized Communication: Tailor communication to address the specific concerns and emotional states of individuals or teams. Recognizing the personal impact of change can make communication more effective.
  • Open Forums for Dialogue: Establish regular opportunities for employees to ask questions, express concerns, and receive direct feedback. This two-way communication can demystify aspects of the change process and reduce feelings of isolation.

Provide Training and Resources

  • Targeted Training Programs: Develop training programs that are directly aligned with the new skills and knowledge required post-change. Ensuring that these programs are accessible and relevant can alleviate anxiety about new expectations.
  • Resource Accessibility: Make sure that all necessary resources, such as manuals, guidelines, and support contacts, are easily accessible. Knowing where to find help can reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Support Networks: Create mentorship or buddy systems to offer additional support, allowing individuals to learn from others’ experiences and gain confidence in navigating the change.

Encourage Small Wins

  • Identify and Celebrate Milestones: Break down the change process into smaller, manageable milestones. Celebrating these as they are achieved can provide a sense of progress and accomplishment.
  • Recognition Programs: Implement recognition programs to highlight individual and team contributions to the change effort. Public acknowledgment can boost morale and motivate continued effort.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish mechanisms for providing constructive feedback on individuals’ adaptation efforts, offering encouragement and guidance for improvement. Positive reinforcement can play a significant role in lifting spirits during this stage.

Moving Forward

Navigating the Valley of Despair requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the emotional and practical aspects of the change. By enhancing communication, providing targeted training and resources, and encouraging the recognition of small wins, change managers can help individuals and teams regain their footing, rebuild their morale, and move towards acceptance and adaptation. This stage, while challenging, offers a pivotal opportunity for growth and development, both for individuals and the organization as a whole. It’s a time when the seeds of resilience are sown, setting the stage for emerging stronger and more adaptable on the other side of the change.


The “Vow” stage in the change management process is pivotal as it marks the transition from passive acceptance to active commitment. Here, the individuals’ roles transform from being change recipients to change champions, from change resistance to change readiness. Delving deeper, we can explore the nuanced approaches that facilitate this critical shift.

Fostering Ownership

Ownership is a powerful motivator. When individuals feel a sense of ownership over the change, they are more likely to invest time, effort, and creativity into making it successful.

  • Empowerment through Delegation: Assign roles and responsibilities that allow individuals to make decisions within their areas. This encourages a sense of agency and investment in the change process.
  • Collaborative Goal Setting: Involve team members in setting goals and milestones for the change initiative. When individuals have a say in the goals, they are more likely to be committed to achieving them.
  • Resource Allocation: Provide the necessary resources—be it time, budget, or tools—that empower individuals to take initiative and act upon their areas of responsibility with confidence.

Setting Clear Expectations

Clarity breeds commitment. When people know what is expected of them, they can align their efforts accordingly.

  • Transparent Communication: Share the detailed plan of action, timelines, and the expected outcomes with everyone involved. Make sure that these plans are easily accessible and comprehensible.
  • Performance Metrics: Define and disseminate the key performance indicators (KPIs) and success metrics associated with the change. This helps in measuring progress and ensures that everyone is striving towards the same objectives.
  • Role Clarity: Ensure that each individual understands how their role contributes to the bigger picture. Role clarity not only prevents overlap and confusion but also enhances individual accountability.

Supporting Commitment

Commitment can wane without ongoing support. Continuous reinforcement is crucial to maintaining the momentum of change.

  • Regular Check-ins: Establish a routine of regular check-ins and updates. These serve as opportunities to offer support, address challenges, and reaffirm commitment.
  • Recognition and Reward: Develop a system of recognition and rewards that aligns with achieving milestones and exhibiting behaviors that support the change. This not only boosts morale but also reinforces the desired actions and attitudes.
  • Ongoing Training and Development: Offer ongoing training and development opportunities that equip individuals with the skills and knowledge required to thrive in the changed environment. This demonstrates an investment in the individual’s growth, paralleling the organization’s evolution.

Moving Beyond

In the “Vow” stage, the focus shifts from managing the change to embedding it into the organizational culture. It is about instilling a sense of purpose, direction, and capability. By fostering ownership, setting clear expectations, and supporting commitment, change leaders can solidify the individual and collective resolve to not just navigate the change but to excel through it. This stage is where the seeds of sustainable transformation are sown, leading to the lasting integration of change into the fabric of the organization.

5. Vision

The “Vision” stage in the change management process is a pivotal moment where the initial resistance and turmoil start to give way to understanding, acceptance, and anticipation of the benefits that the change can bring. This stage is about creating a shared future that everyone feels a part of and is motivated to work towards. Let’s delve deeper into the strategies to effectively cultivate and communicate this vision.

Articulate the Vision

Creating a compelling and clear vision is crucial. It serves as a beacon that guides individuals through the uncertainty of change. Here’s how to effectively articulate this vision:

  • Use Storytelling: Craft a narrative that connects the change to the personal and professional growth of the individuals within the organization. Stories can be powerful in making abstract concepts tangible and inspiring emotional engagement with the vision.
  • Visualize the Future: Use visual tools, like diagrams, videos, or interactive sessions, to paint a picture of what the future looks like. This helps in making the vision more concrete and relatable.
  • Consistent Messaging: Ensure that the vision is communicated consistently across all levels of the organization. This includes speeches, internal communications, and informal conversations. Consistency reinforces the vision and helps embed it in the organization’s culture.

Align Roles and Goals

For individuals to fully buy into the vision, they need to see their place within it. This involves aligning personal goals with the broader objectives of the change:

  • Individual Meetings: Conduct one-on-one meetings to discuss how each person’s role evolves within the new vision. Personalize these discussions to address specific concerns and aspirations.
  • Skill Mapping: Identify the skills and competencies that will be valuable in the future state and map out how each individual can acquire or develop these skills. This not only aligns roles and goals but also provides a clear path for personal development.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish mechanisms for continuous feedback, allowing individuals to express how they see their role evolving and to contribute ideas for achieving the vision. This promotes a sense of ownership and involvement in the change process.

Inspire Engagement

Inspiring engagement requires more than just communicating the vision; it involves actively motivating and involving individuals in the realization of that vision:

  • Inspirational Leadership: Leaders should embody the vision and demonstrate their commitment through their actions. This includes being visibly involved in the change initiatives and showing how they are personally contributing to the vision.
  • Recognition Programs: Implement programs that recognize and reward contributions towards achieving the vision. This could include recognition for innovative ideas, exceptional teamwork, or achieving specific milestones.
  • Community Building: Foster a sense of community among employees, where they can support each other and share experiences related to the change. Community building can be facilitated through team-building activities, social events, or collaboration platforms.

Moving Forward

The Vision stage is critical for transitioning from resistance to acceptance and support for the change. By articulately communicating a compelling future state, aligning individual roles and goals with this future, and inspiring active engagement, leaders can mobilize the organization towards a shared vision. This not only facilitates the change process but also strengthens the organization’s capacity for continuous improvement and adaptation.

6. Virtues

Exploring the “Virtues” stage in greater depth allows us to appreciate this phase not just as an endpoint, but as a critical inflection point where the culture of an organization and the mindset of its individuals are fundamentally transformed. Here’s a deeper look into managing this final stage effectively, ensuring the change becomes a lasting part of the organizational DNA.

Celebrate Success

  • Recognition Programs: Implement recognition programs that not only highlight achievements related to the change initiative but also tie these achievements to the core values and long-term goals of the organization. This ensures that success is not seen in isolation but as a part of the organization’s ongoing journey towards excellence.
  • Personalized Acknowledgments: Personalize acknowledgments as much as possible. Understanding what motivates individuals and tailoring recognitions accordingly can significantly enhance the perceived value of the acknowledgment. For some, public recognition is highly motivating, while for others, personal notes of thanks or opportunities for professional growth may be more appreciated.
  • Celebratory Events: Host celebratory events that not only serve as a platform for acknowledgment but also as a communal space for reflection on the journey. These events can reinforce a sense of community and shared purpose, critical components of a strong organizational culture.

Incorporate Feedback

  • Feedback Mechanisms: Establish formal and informal mechanisms for continuous feedback collection. This could range from surveys and feedback forms to open forums and suggestion boxes. The key is to make giving feedback as accessible and non-threatening as possible.
  • Reflective Sessions: Organize reflective sessions where teams can discuss what went well and what didn’t. These sessions should be structured to foster an environment of trust and openness, where constructive criticism is encouraged, and failures are viewed as learning opportunities.
  • Adaptive Planning: Use the insights gained from feedback to adapt future plans. This might mean tweaking ongoing initiatives or rethinking strategies for future change efforts. The goal is to create a loop where feedback directly informs planning and execution, making the organization more agile and responsive.

Sustain Improvements

  • Embed in Policies and Procedures: To ensure that the improvements made during the change process are sustained, embed these changes into the formal policies and procedures of the organization. This may involve updating job descriptions, workflow processes, or performance evaluation criteria to reflect the new ways of working.
  • Continuous Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Encourage teams to set aside time for skill development, innovation, and exploring new ways to enhance performance. This can be supported by offering access to training resources, workshops, and seminars related to the change initiative and beyond.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Implement a system for regular monitoring of the improvements. This should include setting key performance indicators (KPIs) related to the change and conducting regular reviews to assess progress. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed to ensure the organization remains aligned with its goals and the needs of its workforce.

Successfully navigating the “Virtues” stage culminates in a transformation where the change is not only accepted but embraced as a core component of the organization’s identity. This stage reinforces the importance of reflection, acknowledgment, and continuous improvement, setting a precedent for how future changes are approached and managed. By celebrating successes, incorporating feedback, and embedding improvements into the fabric of the organization, leaders can solidify the gains made through the change process, ensuring lasting benefits and a resilient, adaptable organizational culture.

Copyright – Dr. Nicola McFadded-Marvin