Change is hard but is also constant. I think it is fair to say the year 2020 has been a steady reminder that the world around us is changing. Quite literally transforming and transitioning into new norms whether we are ready for it or not. What started as working from home for two weeks has expanded into full-time remote working for most people. Combine that with millions of jobless claims, deep budget cuts, and companies switching from growth mode to survival, and it is as challenging of an environment as most of us have seen in our lifetimes.
How are you adapting? Are you ready? Is your company ready? Are the organizations you belong to ready? Is your family ready? These are all questions and thoughts that I am sure have run through your mind as an employee, individual and leader. What can YOU do to get on board and prepare not only yourself but also those around you?
Why you should embrace change
An overarching theme to our discussion around embracing change is positivity - having a positive attitude and mindset despite the hardships that change can create. The first step to coping with change is realizing that although it can be hard both personally and professionally, change typically leads to growth and without growth where are we left as humans? Feeling unfulfilled. Feeling unfulfilled ultimately leads to unhappiness so why not view change as not something to fear, but rather as something to welcome. Turn change into your own positive advantage. What can you do to add to the change happening around you in a way that you would like to see things progress now and in the future. Recognize the possibilities and the opportunities that you can personally create and influence others by the change.
How you can embrace change
Embrace new technologies and processes - heck create new processes and bring your ideas to your leadership and executive team. Is something inefficient? Don’t present problems - present solutions. Processes can be streamlined or automated. There are a ton of tools and technology that can help with that. Use this new norm as a time to build your skills and continue learning. Be curious - read articles and blogs that are relevant to your industry. Change typically brings a level of ambiguity and uncertainty. Instead of complaining or bracing for the worst, roll up your sleeves and get into it. Dig deeper into the nitty gritty and ask coworkers to join in on the cause. Do you participate in the office banter and complaints around change or do you create a positive atmosphere and help bring an understanding and fresh perspective to those around you. There is always power in numbers and it helps to have a common ground and understanding from those going through similar obstacles and situations. Knowing you are not alone in the change can help shift your mindset from “I have to tackle this challenging climb on my own” to “I am so excited to tackle this challenging climb with my likeminded supportive peers”. Add value to your organization, suggest starting a volunteer group or office club to build culture and a sense of community in order to advocate and create a safe space for the rest of the organization to feel involved.
Communication is the key to embracing change
Lastly, communication is key. Hopefully you have consistent, one on one meetings with your boss and your direct reports. If you do not have at least one monthly check-in with your direct manager, you should start there. One on one check-in time with a direct boss or manager is the perfect opportunity to address any concerns or ideas that you might have. It is also a great opportunity to get to know each other on more of a personal level. You do not have to become best friends but it is nice to feel as though your values and life outside of work is understood and appreciated inside the work office walls as well. Be proactive and share your thoughts, fears, excitement, hesitations, etc. Remember to not make change personal. Approach the topics you want to discuss from a ‘how you can add value’ perspective.
As the wise Maya Angelou once said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”.