The ‘S’ in the SARAH model refers to ‘Shock’.

This may come in varying degrees, depending on how sudden or major the change really is. If the grapevine has been flowing with talk of impending change then it may reduce the shock factor once the change is more formally announced.

However, this is no reason to hope that the grapevine mitigates the shock. In fact, allowing the grapevine to disseminate information about impending change is a bad idea. You no longer have control over what is said, you can’t respond to people’s reactions and you might as well not be reading about the SARAH model!

People in shock will respond with extreme emotion – whether very loud or very quiet. The way to help overcome is:

  • re-iterate the big picture – let them know it isn’t a personal vendetta
  • be empathetic by acknowledging how they feel – this will get loud people to quieten down and quiet people to express their feelings.
  • reinforce that you are there to work through this time with them
  • stress that change is often a positive thing even if we can’t see it at the moment