Let face it, we are living in turbulent times. The workplace of today is radically different than what it used to be a few years ago. Disruptive change is creating unnecessary stresses for most people in the workplace. To say the least, things are tough.
I’m guessing you probably are feeling overwhelmed and confused in the workplace as well. You may even wonder when things will get back to normal. Well, from all indications, the train doesn’t look like it’s about to stop or slow down.
The solution for this problem is to simply learn how to manage change in the workplace and in your personal life.
You really have two choices: Fight or embrace it. If you choose to fight it, get ready for a stressful life. If you choose to embrace it, you are in for a good ride.
As I travel all over North America to keynote conferences, I come across many people in the workplace who are struggling with change. Some of them have very high-level positions. Others are climbing the ladder.
However, no matter what position they occupy, they are all trying to bounce back after the wave of change that swept the world in the last few years.
Some are giving up when stress starts choking the life out of them. Others are in denial. They think this change is temporary. Still, others are embracing and managing change the correct way. My goal for you here is to help you manage change the correct way as well.
Change Management Is An Inside Out Job
According to Wikipedia, change management is a process designed to empower employees in the workplace. It is supposed to help them accept and embrace change. That is all good. The question is, why do most companies failed during the change process? The answer is simple…
Employees have to take the initiative to manage change for their own sake. When they are forced to do it for the good of the company, they fail at it miserably.
As they say, life is a struggle. Right? Well, struggles are essential for our growth. If you are not struggling with anything, you are also not growing in anything. You are not building enough character to last once you get to the top.
If you are fighting any kind of change, consider that it may be your greatest opportunity disguised as struggles. Accept and embrace this change and the opportunity will reveal itself to you. It all begins with the right attitude and mindset toward change.
5 Simple Ways To Manage Change In The Workplace
1. Be Like A Bamboo Instead Of A Piece Of Glass
The first step toward managing change in the workplace is to be as flexible as the bamboo tree. When the winds of change begin to buffet you, gently bend and let it blow over you. Do not struggle with it. That only creates tension and stress.
This is an attitude I am describing for you here. A piece of glass breaks into a million little pieces upon impact. If you are fighting and resisting change, you will also break into pieces. You need to have what I call “the bamboo attitude.”
The bamboo attitude will you stay focused, calm, and collected. On the other hand, the glass attitude will create undue stresses for you and your team members.
With the bamboo attitude, you are flexible enough to change your approach. You choose the way you respond to the events in your life. Simply put, you know when what you’re doing is not working so you can make the right corrections.
2. Innovate Your Way Out Of The Crisis
Most people think of disruptive innovation—the big thing. However, they are unaware that small daily innovations can make a significant difference.
Everyone has the capacity to make tiny innovations daily. Simply look at the things you do during your eight-hour shift and ask yourself if there’s a better way to do them.
There’s always room for improvement no matter how perfect something is. Besides, nothing is ever perfect. If you are managing change properly, you should know this.
If you are a leader, you should encourage and inspire your team members to make daily recommendations on how to improve your processes and systems.
I am a motivational speaker. I don’t have a big office with lots of employees. I have one main assistant and many micro workers doing work for me virtually around the globe.
My assistant handles everything. She even manages my virtual team. She knows that I expect three things from her every day.
First, I ask for a list of all the tasks done for the day. Second, I need to know what she is struggling with. And third, I need to know what suggestions she has for me so we can improve. I really look forward to the latter. Why?
Subconsciously, my assistant is constantly thinking of new and better ways to innovate our processes. Simply put, she is managing change in real time.
3. Lead Change Instead Of Letting It Lead You
You are not a puppet. Don’t allow change to pull your strings. Take charge. Be a change agent. Lead the change. Here’s an example:
It’s a given your company will introduce some type of change. It’s neither a choice nor an option. It’s a mandate. Change or vanish.
You can also count on some layoffs during the change process. Mentally, prepare yourself to do more with less.
Change management is about being proactive. Anticipate the future. Make plans to deal with whatever comes your way during times of turbulent change.
4. Get Off Your Dead Horse
You cannot lead change from the past. It is fruitless to keep rehearsing the past. When your horse is dead, get off it and find another. Don’t keep beating it. Move on.
I started in life as a poor and sick kid in a tiny village in Haiti. I came to the US at the age of 21. I didn’t speak any English. It was difficult for me to fit in the new culture.
I fought tooth and nail to remain the same. I didn’t want to let go of my culture, beliefs, and habits. I kept reminiscing over the past. I was comfortable. I did not want to stretch. As a result, I began to feel frustrated and stressful. Life was not good at all.
One day, I had a eureka moment!
I realized unless I stopped rehearsing the past and embraced the present, I was doomed to struggle in a country where opportunities abound. A light bulb went on in my head.
I immediately started learning English—one word at a time. I decided to meet new people and learn from them. I embraced the change. Things started changing for me immediately. I started making progress.
I shared this with you to make a point. There’s no need to keep wishing the good old days to come back. Deal with your current reality. You are not going to get back the big budget. You are not going to get back the nice perks. You might as well do what you can with what you.
To manage change in the workplace, you must become a new you. Who you were in the past cannot help you solve your current problems. You need to think differently.
Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
5. Ask Yourself More Empowering Questions
A couple of years ago, I was on The Trinity Broadcasting Network speaking about change. I shared with the viewers the power of questions. Many of them emailed and called my office because I hit a nerve.
I simply told them to change the questions they were asking themselves and their situation will improve.
If you are dealing with some disruptive change and stress is eating you up on the inside, change your questions. I know that sounds simple. Nevertheless, it works.
Don’t say, “Why are they doing this to me? Why do keep adding more to my workload?” Instead, change your question to, “How can I join forces with team to get things done faster and in a more efficient way?”
When you persistently ask yourself the right questions, you unlock a part of your brain for the right answers. Don’t say, “Why am I so broke?” That’s not going to help you. Ask yourself, “What can I do to double my salary?”
Great questions empower you. Weak questions weaken you. I promise you this: Your questions can help you manage change in the workplace in a remarkable way. They can help you lead the field.
Don’t be mad at your company or your boss. You cannot change the change that is happening. You can only manage it. It’s time to reinvent yourself. It’s time to stop taking change personally.
You can thrive and rise to the top in any economy. You simple need to learn how to manage change. Be a change agent. Don’t let it happen to you. Instead, make it happen.