Hardly a week seems to go by these days without someone asking me about change and how to manage change at work. The world is changing, our sector is changing and our jobs are changing. Whether you’re a manager driving change in your organisation, or a member of staff implementing change, there are times when it can all feel too much.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes change is a positive experience: we learn a lot from it, we gain new ideas or skills and our lives are better as a result. However, all too often, we worry about and fear change, making it something negative. So how can you best handle change, and get past your fears and worries? Well, the first step is to be clear about what it is you are worrying about only then can you figure out how to deal with it.
When we’re running change training, we ask participants – managers and staff – to think about how change is impacting them personally through four lenses:
Do you fear change because it wasn’t part of your plan? Does the change that’s coming down the line mean you need to be someone new, or be seen in a new way by others? Is this challenging your view of yourself, your personal goals and your career objectives? Is this what is worrying you? Does a change in direction keep you up at night?
Are you unfazed by the change in direction, but concerned about the mission, or how the organisation is going to get there? Are you unclear about what the change means in terms of how you will work, what your contribution will be, what your value to the organisation is and how you relate to others? Is a process or procedure getting you anxious? Is this what you fear?
Do the changes mean new abilities, skills or knowledge – new competencies – are needed to get the job done? Are the things you have been good at before less important compared to the things you now need to be good at? Are you feeling incompetent? Are you worried about having to learn, retrain or fill a knowledge gap?
Does the change not fit with your sense of right and wrong, of what is important and what matters? Does it mean the values you hold dear are being compromised? Is this how you feel? Are your values being tested?
Once you’ve identified your concerns – they might span all four lenses – you are much better placed to deal with them. Ask yourself:
Recognising your options, getting informed and taking action will help reduce your fears and worries. Remember, too, to take care of yourself during change. Find out how to keep up your energy levels in this blog.
This technique is one of many we have available on our Change and Me and Managing Change training programmes. We can tailor these to suit your organisation and the changes you are experiencing. If you would like to speak to us about an in-house programme please call 020 7978 1516 or contact us online.
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Yvette Gyles, Director