By Andrea Pohlsander:
Spring is here. That means it’s a time of new beginnings and changes, especially here at Red Branch. Change is inevitable, and even when it’s good, it can still be a little bit scary. According to the APA’s 2017 Work and Well-Being Survey, half of the American workers had experienced, were currently experiencing, or were expected to experience organizational changes at work in 2018. For many, that evolution is still happening. Dealing with change at work can be uniquely challenging; applying these tips can help you get through, in the most effective and efficient ways possible.
1. Be Prepared
It’s not just for the Boy Scouts. Most of the time we know when organizational change is coming. We may not know exactly how it will affect us, but when you hear the rumor mill rumbling, start preparing yourself. Determine what the multiple outcomes could be and formulate a plan for each. Find out what additional training opportunities are available to you and take advantage of them.
When your manager asks you to cross train with someone else, make sure you do so thoroughly because it could be an indicator that you are about to receive more responsibility. Find new ways to be an asset to your organization. For those of us that hope for the best and prepare for the worst, start putting a little extra money in savings. You’ll find comfort in knowing you have a financial “cushion” to land on in case the worst happens.
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
If there was ever a time to flex your communication skills, organizational change is it. Pay close attention in meetings, listen, take notes, and ask questions. When discussing changes with your supervisor, state the facts and be honest. Make sure to take the time to watch and listen. Don’t just throw up your hands and say “this isn’t working”. Try to help figure out why it’s not working and offer solutions. Last year, 6 out of 10 workers expressed satisfaction with their employer’s communication practices. Don’t be the reason communication fails.
Are you facing #change in your organization? Find out how to deal in a constructive and healthy way from @RedBranch: Click To Tweet
“Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.”
3. Control Your Emotions
Our bodies respond to uncertainty with a reflexive reaction of fear which hinders good decision making. Make sure to acknowledge and contain that fear right away. Don’t let yourself spiral with irrational thoughts. Remind yourself that you are going to be okay, no matter what happens. Then, do what you need to do to manage your fear and stress in healthy ways.
Last year, 29% reported eating or smoking more and 34% experienced other physical health symptoms at work during organizational change. Make sure to exercise, eat healthy foods, take a break to meditate or do yoga, and get enough sleep at night. When I’m well rested, all those little thoughts of fear and uncertainty are much easier to contain. Take extra care to manage your work-life balance.
“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start getting excited about what could go right.”
4. Understand Your Limits
Even the best of us want to believe we can control everything. The truth is, we can’t. Evaluate your situation and determine what is under your control. It’s not a weakness to know what you can and can’t handle, it’s self-awareness. It can be humbling to realize you need to let a responsibility go to someone else. Usually, if they are better equipped to handle it, then it’s what’s best for you and your organization. At the same time, letting your boss know when you are ready to take on more can help them when determining roles and responsibilities for you and your team.
“You may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it.”
5. Adopt a Positive Attitude
Throughout our lives, we make thousands of decisions and nearly 20% of them will end with regret. Failure is part of the path to success. Give yourself a break. Nobody is perfect. So do your best. Celebrate the wins. For those days when you just aren’t feeling it, fake it ‘til you make it! A positive attitude can go a long way towards helping you deal with change.
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.”
6. Be Flexible
We all get caught up in our habits and comfort zones, even at work. Changing them is hard, so be flexible with yourself. Give yourself time to adjust and try to become a part of the changes happening around you. Be open and willing to work things a new way, even if it hurts a little. No process has ever been perfect the first attempt. It can take time to work out the kinks, so look for them and help find ways to fix them. Take the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and grow.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
7. Set Goals
Take the opportunity to revisit old goals. Evaluate if they are still applicable and make adjustments, or scrap them and set new ones. Setting goals will help keep you focused, evaluate your progress, and recognize success when it occurs. An organizational change may seem counterproductive to your goals at first, but give it time to see how things land. Be open to embracing opportunities that may open up. Sometimes an unexpected opportunity can bring you far closer to reaching your ultimate goals than you initially imagined.
20% of the choices we make in life end in regret so give yourself a break! Failure is part of the path to #success. @RMB_Andrea Click To Tweet
“The reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.”
8. Seek Support
We all have times when we feel overwhelmed, need some additional training, or need someone to listen while we talk through a problem. When that happens, it’s okay to ask for help. Seek out supportive people who can help you deal.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.”
Lana Lang once said, “Life is about change. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s beautiful. But most of the time, it’s both.” Change has often marked some of the most challenging times in my life. Using these tips, I’ve learned that even when things seemed to result with the worst possible outcome (getting laid off), in the long run, it ended up being for the best, after all, it brought me to Red Branch Media.
In the continually changing landscape of organizations across the world, these tips will help you find confidence in uncertainty, seek opportunities for growth, and experience success even in the most challenging situations.
What has helped you deal with change at work? Join the conversation @RedBranch!