Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
~ George Bernard Shaw
You just got it. You felt confident you had finally figured out how to tame the beast. Then — wham — management introduces a new software, process, or directive and your momentum (and confidence) is suddenly benched.
How long will you mentally stay sidelined? How easily will you adapt and move forward? Will you even be able to? While everyone will answer this question in hugely different ways, one thing is for certain: Work — be it retail, manufacturing, or service — is changing at warp speed. This means your willingness to adapt just graduated from optional to required.
If you are the kind of person who thrives in a fast-moving, ever-shifting environment, consider yourself blessed and equipped. However, if you respond to any kind of workplace shift with trepidation, anxiety, or internal or external resistance — then buckle up — it’s time to cover some new ground.
If you are a manager in charge of executing a new initiative this conversation is equally important for you since driving adoption directly impacts your ability to deliver on the expected outcomes. Research shows that when people feel equipped for a change, have proper training, and understand the “why” behind of the change, they are more likely (and willing) to embrace and even champion a new direction.
We’ve learned that ultimately, the success of a new directive and its outcomes is dependent on one thing: the people being asked to adapt.
7 Ways to Adapt to Workplace Changes
- Understand the why. If you feel overwhelmed sometimes you have to backtrack. Maybe you missed a critical piece of information that would align the random pieces for you. Slow down. Take a breath and find the nugget of information that connects your heart to the change. You might ask yourself: Why is my company making this change? How will adapting this change help the organization succeed? How is my role important to this change? What can I do to make this change easier on my team and me?
- Redefine yourself. Because organizations are faced with faster, more complex changes than ever before, the need for adoption across the organization is critical for companies to compete (and for people to stay employed). That means people at nearly every level of a company must redefine themselves in the context of their individual work. If you’ve pigeonholed yourself as being a “non-technical” person, maybe additional online classes will boost your skills. If you don’t feel social or need to strengthen your communication skills to ease yourself through a change, seek out resources to do that.
- Communicate early and often. Isolation is a Petri dish for panic. So, rather than stew about it, communicate your questions and concerns. During times of transition, don’t hesitate to ask questions — as many as it takes — to get the answers you need to restore your footing and move forward. Remember: People are not mind readers. Use communication to bridge the gaps in your knowledge and knock out your fear around whatever change you are facing.
- Stay positive. Being positive is a decision, not a feeling. You can feel apprehension about a situation but still move forward with a positive outlook. You might be surprised at the new opportunities this mind shift opens for you and the affect it has on the people around you who are also challenged with the change.
- Always be learning. The more you know the more you can grow into the change at hand. If management has offered training around the change and you still don’t feel confident, double up on your classes. Take charge of your success by getting the extra training you need. Dig into podcasts, webinars, trade pubs, books, conferences, and networking events that support your learning. This will help you stay in front of the next change wave (because it’s coming) instead of being wiped out by it.
- Remember your strengths. Sometimes when change hits us at work so does amnesia. Change can obliterate our confidence and make us forget how far we’ve come and the strengths we bring to the team. Make every effort to keep your strengths front of mind so you can move through the current change with confidence.
- Expect change. Gone are the days when big initiatives or changes hit a workplace every few years. Today, thanks to technology and the pace of our global, digital marketplace, change is the heartbeat of most every workflow. This new normal doesn’t make change easy but it does weaken the blow of its impact. Therefore, be proactive. Expect and accept change as it comes. Learn how to welcome it, be curious about it, and handle it with genuine enthusiasm.
Learn more by downloading our Kronos Change Management One Sheet.
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