Whether it’s a simple process amendment or a total rethink of strategy, change is inevitable in our business. However, handling change can be a real challenge. Here are some tips to make it easier.
I’m a believer that change can’t really be “managed”. The best we can do is to understand it, prepare for it and embrace it as normal. Here are some of the concepts I have found most useful when embracing change.
Understanding the process of change
While individuals may move through the process at different speeds, all change involves moving from the ending of something, through a transitional period, and onto a new beginning.
Endings are when things are no longer happening or are done differently. This period can involve the most intense emotional reactions, including anger, sadness and denial.
Transitions involve moving towards the new way. This stage is characterised by uncertainty about the future and resistance, plus some level of anticipation and excitement about the future.
Beginnings means doing things the new way and feeling good about it. We have moved on from the past and the new way becomes “normal.”
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Understanding what we can and can’t control
We have all experienced the frustration of worrying about things that we have no influence over. A recent case in point : interest rate rises and now falls. How many of us spent precious headspace agonising over the effects this would have on our businesses? That’s not to say it’s not an important issue to respond to – it’s just that it’s going to happen regardless of our personal feelings about it, so our best response is to navigate it rather than worry. Easier said than done I know!
The point is we need to recognise that there’s no point agonising over the stuff that’s outside of our control. We will be much more productive spending time on the stuff we can control. What can we control? Our attitude and emotional response as well as the decisions we make in order to deal with the change are all completely within our control.
Preparing for change
Forewarned is forearmed. Yes we can prepare for change, and we should. Here’s how to stay on the front foot.
- Find out as much as you can about the change.
- Anticipate how it will affect you and your business.
- Decide how you can most effectively work while the change is occurring.
- Look for support – don’t try and get through it all on your own.
- Talk to others who have been through this or a similar change in the past – learn from their experiences.
- Take a balanced view – make a list of the pluses and minuses about the change.
- Don’t let it take over your life – do things for you that are separate to what’s changing in your life or business.
Have you got any thoughts on or tips for embracing change?