The reality is, change happens whether we like it or not. Especially in this economic environment. Especially in organizations trying to navigate the dynamics of what is now a volatile market. It’s changed for me, rapidly and frequently. I’m willing to bet it’s been the same for you.
While leaders and organizations strive to manage that change, and guide us through it, the fact remains that we are human, and we react to change. That is our nature.
How can we manage our own reactions to the rapid and frequent changes that are affecting us now? As individuals, employees, leaders… and people.
Firstly, it’s important to try and understand the change, both on a broad level and a personal level. What exactly is changing here? What effect does it have on the organization? What are the implications for you? Try to really understand the logic behind this change so that that the implications for you as an individual feel less personal. Because, it’s probably not personal. There’s a bigger change going on at a higher level than you – and that’s what has implications for you.
Talking through these changes with someone can really help alleviate some of the concerns or fears you may have during the change process. When it’s possible, talking to someone within the organization who knows more than you is ideal. When that’s not possible, finding someone who has been through something similar is helpful. At the very least, talk it through with a friend, someone you trust. Fear has a habit of growing rapidly in your mind when you allow it, like a snowball accumulating snow as it rolls down a snowy mountain,. The key is to get it out of your head.
Rationalize those fears if you can. Don’t allow them to expand into catastrophic thinking. Try to control your thoughts, and only focus on the rational thoughts – let go of the worrisome ‘what if’ scenarios. Question them as they arise. Ask yourself if this is a true thought. Look for evidence to support the thought. If its not true, or no evidence exists to support it, let it go.
Review your options too. This change has implications; what are they? What are your options as a result of that? Do you have to make a decision now? In this situation, try to keep your communication channels open. Keep everyone in the loop. Gather as much information as you can. And position yourself to negotiate your best possible outcome.
Finally, keep in mind that change affects everyone differently. We will all react in a different way. Managing how we process others’ responses to change is equally important as any of the others above. As people others influence us, through their words, their feelings, and their situations. Try to manage your response to their reaction to the change and not get caught up in emotions that are not your own. The effect of the change will be different for others, so their thoughts and feelings will be different. Try to maintain a balance between what are your thoughts and feelings on the change, and those of others. Don’t confuse how someone else reacts with how you feel or how you think you should react. Stay connected with yourself, and the impact the change has for you, while showing empathy for others too.
Is there a big change happening in your work life or your personal life right now? How are you responding to it? Or have you experienced massive change before? How did you respond to it then? Would you do something different now?