Reframe the loss into a win

Change is loss. The “Reframe the Loss of Change” canvas helps turn losses into wins.

Even when change is for the best, it usually involves a loss.

This tool will help your team understand the loss. By using empathy, you can reframe resistance into action. When people realize what’s really affecting them, it’s easier to turn a loss into a win.

What Is the Reframe the Loss Canvas

People do not resist change, per se.

Contrary to popular belief, resistance to change is not a default reaction. People resist the loss that change entails.

Most of the losses are emotional: loss of control, loss of power, or loss of narrative. The new reality creates a gap between how things used to be that confuses people.

Other losses are more functional. The loss of competence happens when employees feel their skills are no longer aligned with the organization’s needs.

Unfortunately, we all suffer from loss aversion — we prefer to avoid losses over acquiring equivalent gain. The purpose of this canvas is to make people aware of the change loss that gets in their way. Understanding it is the first actionable step.

How to Use the Reframe the Loss Canvas

Before starting, familiarize yourself with the notion of change as a loss.

I suggest you read the following three articles:

How to Overcome Resistance to Change in the Workplace

What Resistance to Change Says about Leadership

This Is the Reason Why People Resist Change

1. Break people into groups. Give each person a block of post-its and markers.

2. Select the loss. Ask each team to list 5-7 losses that keep them awake at night. Prioritize those loses–from most important to not.

Choose the most critical loss. Write it down on the “What’s the loss?” section.

3. Categorize the loss. Check only ONE type of loss. Though many losses might belong to more than one category, focus on the most important. This step is critical to guide the following analysis.

4. How does the loss manifest? Ask the team to identify the fears or issues that affect them. Tell them to describe how people talk, think, act, or feel about the loss.

Are there any particular circumstances in which it becomes more evident or harmful? What triggers the loss?

5. How does the loss affect the team? Encourage participants to reflect on how the loss is slowing down the group.

Ask them to divide the issues into two groups: real and perceived.

Help them realize that many tensions are not real but imaginary. Sometimes we anticipate issues before they happen. Or we are so emotionally connected to something that we cannot see the upside of something new.

6. Who’s not helping? Why? The idea is not to blame people but rather identify whose mindset or behavior might not be helping. Most of the time, people are unaware of how their own actions get in the way.

Also, this is an opportunity for people to reflect on their own behavior. Rather than pointing fingers at others, invite them to practice self-reflection.

7. How can we reframe the loss into a win? It’s time to plan how to move forward. Focus on solving the ‘real’ issues that affect the team.

Have each team brainstorm several ideas.

Use different prompts to facilitate ideation. For example, “How did organizations overcome similar losses?” “When was the last time we experienced something similar? How did we recover?”

Ask them to select the top three ideas.

8. Who can help? How? Identify those who can support the team reframe the loss. Do we need to ask external help?

9. Share it out. Once everyone completed the “Reframe the Loss” canvas, have participants share theirs aloud. Compare the points of view of different stakeholders.

Facilitation Tips

You can also have people fill the canvas on their own first, and then break into groups and consolidate results.

People should prepare for the session. Ask them to read the articles above. Kick-off the meeting with a quick reminder of the different types of losses.

After the shareout, encourage people to reflect on the different losses. What surprised them? Discuss how certain events can trigger different reactions in people. What for someone is meaningful might be irrelevant to another person.

Empathy is a powerful skill to create understanding among team members.

Canvas by Liberationist. Design by: Moira Dillon.