Change is a universal experience we all go through. Whether it happens in our personal lives — we move apartments/houses, we grow our family, or professionally — our company gets acquired, we lose our job, the workforce shifts to remote work — we have all had to deal with some form of change in our lives. The truth is, change is everywhere. Right now, we’re experiencing the change of seasons. We’re nearing the 2020 election. The fourth financial quarter just started. Change can be big like the examples outlined above, or small. You might have slept through your alarm this morning and had to modify your morning routine. Change is constant, and our ability to adapt to it, no matter how it manifests is crucial for our success as human beings.
What was a recent change you experienced? How did you feel? What thoughts went through your head?
This is an exercise we do with the team at GoCoach, to push us to reflect on how we respond to change. By thinking about the emotions and areas of resistance, we can begin to acknowledge how we do have a choice with how we react, both internally and externally. When sudden change happens, it’s completely normal to feel discomfort. You’re likely to feel a combination of emotions ranging from sadness to rejection to anger to worry to relief. What we need to understand about our response is that we can either be reactive or proactive when change occurs. We want to get to a place where we are being proactive, so that we have more control over our emotions and feelings. The more experience you have navigating and regulating these emotions, the more prepared you will be taking the action needed to get to the other side of it.
Some of the ways to make yourself more adaptable to change is to let go of fear. Fear is one of the most common reasons we resist change — we fear the unknown. Getting comfortable with ambiguity will allow you to focus your energy on the things that you can control and that ultimately matter. Return to your values and the behaviors that will allow you to succeed. It can be easy to fixate on things that could go wrong, but the truth is, negativity can only manifest if you think about it. Rather than thinking about the ways something can go wrong, how can they go right? What are the potential positive outcomes of the change? Reframe your perspective and look at the change as an opportunity.
When change occurs, there’s no going back. It happened. How are you going to move forward? Focus on the future, which will allow you to think critically, pivot when needed, and lead your team effectively through change. When we acknowledge that change is inevitable and prepare for it (even when we don’t know what it is), we put ourselves in a position to be more proactive and strategic when navigating the change. Push your team to reflect on change, their response to it, and how they can continue to improve their ability to adapt to it. And do the same for yourself. The more we practice self-awareness and the role we as leaders, managers, teammates, and colleagues play in change, the more likely we are to successfully lead change within an organization.
Interested in learning more about how to identify personal and universal experiences with change, prepare yourself for change by identifying your own areas of resistance, gain foundational knowledge of change management and what it means to be “change capable”, understand your role in change management and its importance, and implement a change management process on your team? Register for the next course in our Management Certification Series on Change Management. The course will be led by GoCoach Coach and Advisor, Angela Schwers. Angela has led significant change transformations in her career, most recently at Pearson.
If you’re not able to join us live, don’t worry. The sessions are available to watch later, and we will be holding ongoing live Q&A with our coaches through our learning community. This means you’ll have ongoing support and resources while you focus on developing your skills and implementing what you’ve learned.
You can register for the live session or purchase the learning module here.