Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I was facilitating a training session on organizational change recently and we were discussing different change models. I’ve written before that one of my favorites is Lewin’s 3-phases (unfreeze, change, refreeze). Someone in the session mentioned that a previous supervisor always used the acronym PORK when talking about change.
Positive: Keep a positive or confident outlook about the change.
Optimistic: Show hope or optimism that the change will result in improvement.
Realistic: Be realistic or sensible regarding the change steps and timeline.
Kindness: Stay kind or considerate to others during the change process.
Several of us immediately asked if we could steal or share this idea and thankfully, the person said “yes”.
One of the reasons I wanted to share the PORK acronym is because it’s catchy and fun. Personally, I find that I remember catchy, fun acronyms – like SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, responsible, and time-bound) and MOCHA (manager, owner, consultant, helper, and approver). And when I remember an acronym, then…I use them. And that’s what this is really all about. Finding an effective way to manage change.
Another thing I liked about the PORK acronym was it was a bit more person-centric versus process. To me, change models like Lewin focus on process but often don’t help an individual manage their feelings. I could see myself using PORK to ask myself questions like “Are you keeping a positive outlook?”, “Have you thought about the improvements that the change will bring?”, “Are you being realistic about how long the change will take?”, and “Are you being kind to others – and yourself – during this transition?”.
And I won’t lie, using an acronym like PORK to manage change could have some fun branding elements to it. Part of managing change is being able to enjoy the journey. Even when it’s difficult. I believe organizations and individuals often do not take enough time to celebrate their successes. Including the small victories. Maybe an acronym like PORK will help organizations and individuals remember to pause and celebrate along the way.
I do recognize that some people might not care for the PORK acronym for a variety of reasons. I totally respect that. On some level, it’s not about the word. It’s about finding easy to remember acronyms to help manage change. You could easily turn PORK into CROP (considerate, realistic, optimistic, positive).
Organizational change isn’t going to stop. That means individual change isn’t going away either. Finding little tips and resources that work for you will be the key to managing change well.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV25