Change is an inevitable part of working in any company. Most of the changes that come our way turn out positively, and yet, for many of us, we struggle with handling change in any constructive way. Many times when changes arrive we allow ourselves to react in a negative or combative way, rather that with a positive attitude that says, “let’s see how this change works out…” The winds of change are going to blow at your office door, nearly every day. You may as well get yourself into a more comfortable mindset and stop harming your career by blowing a gasket with changes in your workplace. Here are some helpful practices to employ that will help you keep your head squarely about you in times of uncertainty.
Don’t Get Hung Up On The Past – If a change in the past has turned out badly for you, let it go. There is never a good time to hold a grudge, and bitterness and recrimination will not help your reputation with your peers in your organization. Accept the past and make up your mind that you’re going to make the MOST of any change that comes your way in the current and the future. Accept and make the most of the opportunity…
Choose Your Words Carefully, and Be Cautious Who You Share Them With – No matter how negative a change may seem on the surface, it will probably turn out better than your initial reaction may suggest. Keep a lid on your temper and don’t lose your cool. Be very careful about what you say about changes, especially at the water cooler. This goes doubly for managers, watch yourself closely!
Don’t Make Decisions That Will Haunt You Later – It’s foolish to pout and push back on uncertainty and change. Be patient, and give things a chance. Take a wait and see attitude, rather than a “to Hell with this…” attitude. Remember, your teammates are watching you, so give them a positive look at you that leaves them admiring your courage.
Don’t Burn Your Bridges – There’s almost never a good time to burn a bridge. Taking extreme positions or getting indignant about change just diminishes your credibility and reputation. You will need credibility and a stellar reputation for what comes later in this career, so don’t burn any bridges.
Demonstrate Your Ability to Work Constructively – This is an excellent time to show people what you are capable of. There will be those who over-react and lose their composure in times of stress and change, so by being calm and positioning yourself as a positive change agent, you are going to stand out in a very constructive way. Network with others who want to help make the changes positive, and innovate to maximize success and positive outcomes. Remember that if you help someone with their project now, you stand a better chance of gaining their support later when you need their help.
Think Positively About the Change and Yourself – It’s easy to begin to see yourself as a victim when change comes, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a winner. Don’t let yourself change how you see yourself, and certainly, don’t let uncertainty cause you to position yourself as a hothead. Project a mature, calm, business-like image for everyone to see. Think positively about the change, and about yourself. See yourself as strong and capable, and see yourself contributing positively to change, and it will be more likely to come to pass.
Sit Out the Revolution – Your Leadership Team is looking for you to support a change that they felt was important enough to take some risk on. Don’t align yourself with the radicals who want to hang onto the past fervently, because they are not going to make anyone happy with their silent resistance. Get out front, and do your best to make change a positive for your company.
Change is going to happen in life and in business. Get used to it, and make up your mind that you are going to embrace it and make it work out for the best, any time you can. When the changes come, listen to the reasoning behind the changes, and you’ll usually find out that the changes are being made for a good, positive rationale. Ignore any temptation to resist change until you have had a chance to develop an understanding or how the changes affect the company, your team, and you personally. The reality is that 80% or 90% of changes make things better. The rare occasions where changes make things worse are almost always followed by a recovery effort. You don’t want to fly off the handle and damage relationships that you’ve worked to build for years. Get on board and be supportive or your teammates and become a leader and support positive change!
Michael is an advisor to CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and their Leadership Teams. Michael helps great Mid-sized companies to build a strong culture and to develop great leadership to allow the company to deliver ambitious results. Michael would be delighted to hear from you about your company’s change efforts and how things are going in handling change at your company. Please feel free to email him at email@example.com.