“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus
In order for businesses to progress and continue to grow, they must adapt to the changes around them; both in the industry in which they operate as well as in the world in general. To adapt, businesses must change for themselves as well. This change can be daunting and uncomfortable if it is not understood or processed well by employees. The following points can help you deal with and adapt to change in the workplace.
- Recognize the Change Itself
Failure to notice that a change has occurred can affect your reaction to change efforts in the organization. Pay attention to the vital signs that a change is imminent so that you can better prepare for them. There are several ways to determine whether or not a change is about to occur in the workplace:
- Observation – Pay attention to your environment. Have there been many key strategy meetings? Have your co-workers (particularly management) been operating differently? If so, it is likely that there are some changes that may be implemented soon.
- Communication – Discuss with your co-workers about the possible changes that you are noticing. Find out whether or not they have heard anything about change efforts or new things to be implemented at the office.
- Be Inquisitive – If your organization permits open communication, then inquire as to the nature of the change efforts. If you have an idea of the type of changes that are to take place, try then to ask about the change itself and the plans that management has for the organization.
- Research the Change
Knowing the type of change the organization wants to implement is integral to helping you manage your reaction to the change. When you have full knowledge of the change and how it may affect you at the workplace, you are better able to respond. Research can also help you do the following things:
- Process the Changes – getting used to what is new in the organization can take quite a bit of time. Researching this beforehand can help you to use the time before the changes are implemented to think about how the changes will affect you.
- Adapt to the Change – You can now figure out how your skills and abilities can work with and be adapted to the changes. If you have enough information about the change initiatives, you can assess how you can contribute to the changes, thus assuring that you are seen as an asset to the organization.
- Know Yourself
Admittedly, change can greatly affect an individual if the changes are in complete misalignment with the individual themselves. You should use times of change to assess yourself and the goals you have set out for your life. Think about where you want to be in the organization and your career. Observe the changes being proposed and see how they can affect or benefit your life. By assessing yourself and where you stand with your life goals, you will be better prepared to deal with the proposed changes and manage how you respond to them.
- Know the Emotional Stages
Grief occurs in different phases when it comes to change. It is important that you know them and recognize when you are going through them. The most common phases are: Denial, Anger, Dejection, Acceptance and Development and Learning. By recognizing when you are in these phases you can help deflect negative reactions and improve your outlook on the change, helping you to move to Learning and Development without going through all of the grief phases.
Observe yourself from past change processes and figure out why you may have reacted in the way that you did. Identify your feelings in order to get to the root of the problem. This way you can see exactly which part of the change process might be affecting you and as such you can avoid making the same mistakes as you may have done before.
- Remain Positive
Most people tend to react to change in a negative manner. This especially happens when we do not take the time to properly research and assess the change. In addition, workers may feel as though they will definitely be negatively impacted by the proposed changes, which may result in them becoming fired or demoted. Reacting negatively includes:
- Not involving yourself in change oriented meetings
- Be late and absent from work
- Ignoring change efforts and pretending that nothing has changed
- Verbally being rude about the changes themselves
- Doing the opposite of the proposed change initiatives
- Developing a nonchalant attitude to your work
As long as you avoid doing these things or reacting in a similar manner you will avoid being pegged as someone who is resistant to change. If you remain positive, you will be able to find good aspects of the change initiatives. This can in turn help you figure out how you can be of benefit to the business and can even reinforce your worth to the organization.
- Involve Yourself in the Change Effort
You want to seem as though you are a team player at all times. By making suggestions and giving ideas in support of the proposed changes you can ensure that you are part of the change process and are not forgotten. Promote yourself well to the company as an asset during the change process.
- Keep in Contact with your Contacts
More than likely there would be many organizations who would have gone through a change process similar to the one you may be experiencing. If you communicate with others about the changes, you may be able to get advice on how the change was received in their organization which can better help you to deal your emotions and can help you know what to expect.
Identify the people who can help you get through the change process such as mentors, family and friends. Change is something hard to accept and it is always easier to deal with when you have a strong support system to help you get through it.
For more tips and guidelines on how to deal with change in the workplace, click on the following links: