I’ve discussed why you should embrace change before, but not how.
I tweeted about it a little, but last month at work, we had a meeting. The meeting consisted of all of the people in the organization that hold the same job title as me – there are about 25 of us.
We were told that our entire jobs were changing – they called it a “redesign” of our positions.
They split our positions into two, adding some duties and subtracting some duties here and there to ensure that the workload is the same. They changed around the “FTE” (full-time equivalent) of our positions, so that there were more full-time than part time (before there were a lot of part-time), and changed the locations as well.
We are all supposed to pick our top three choices of the position we want to be in, submit them, and then we’ll be assigned our roles on the basis of our choices, fit, and qualifications.
Needless to say, this is change. Nobody likes change. This sent many people into a panic.
Two people decided to retire earlier than they would have, because of this. A couple more are actually considering going elsewhere to work. There are a few that seem excited about the change, as it gives them the possible opportunity to get closer to home.
Personally, I am neutral. I’m a little excited, actually. I haven’t been at my job for long enough to be doubtful or angry about the change, and I think the duties added to both positions are interesting and it would be fun to learn new things.
The one thing that I was a little disappointed in, that the coordinators of this change didn’t arrange for, was the lack of change management initiatives to help ease those more resistant people into the change. Perhaps there would have been less panic if some initiatives were set forward to help some of the employees with the redesign.
I’ve studied in various courses throughout my education the theory and science of change management, and employing these methods have helped me embrace and become excited about the change.
Perhaps I’m naive or just optimistic, but I believe that the people who designed these new jobs knew what they were doing.
They are professionals. They have been in our roles. They are now our supervisors. They’re all educated, experienced, and the process was looked at, tested, and reviewed by many members of the organization.
I trust that they know what they are doing. But it’s still hard to completely accept something if you have a bunch of questions floating around.
Ask them! The organizers of the change are more likely to be relieved that there is conversation about the change, than angry at the questions. Ask the right people, and you’ll get answers. Maybe the answers will help you understand why the change had to take place, which is the first step to accepting it.
I found that the people that were the most excited about the change, were those who could identify opportunities for themselves within the message.
For me, it’s possible that a permanent job will come out of it. If not, I may be able to get closer to home. If neither of these things happen, at least I’ll be able to learn more about different, additional aspects of my job that I didn’t previously have the opportunity to get to know, which is something I can add to my resume.
At the end of the day, there should have been opportunity for every single one of my colleagues within this change. I’m sure early retirement – making a smooth exit – was opportunity for some (though I know at least one of them didn’t see it in such a positive light).
Even if the only opportunity that you can pull from a change is the ability to adapt to it and learn from it, that’s great. Especially for when you go to further your career.
Confront Your Skepticism
Self awareness is key to accepting change. If you do not know that you’re bristling at the thought of it, how will you be able to fix your attitude?
At one point, I said to my colleague who was complaining of the change, “I think as the idea of the redesign develops and plays out, it will be a positive thing. People default to disliking change, and naturally resist it, but I think we’ll all find that it benefits us when the dust has settled”. To which she responded “I’m not resistant to the change, it’s just that I like my job how it is! I don’t want to work anywhere else! I don’t want the added duties!”
To me, that sounds like change resistance. This is one of my favorite colleagues, but there hasn’t been a day passed where she’s said a positive thing about the change; she’s a skeptic at best.
If you start to panic, think about whether or not you’re resisting the change. Be truthful to yourself.
Find Your Position
Once you’ve accepted the fact that you are resisting the change (you probably are), figure out why. What’s behind your resistance? Be honest with yourself.
My colleague may be the first one to jump up and down and say she likes her job just the way it is, and that’s why she doesn’t want it to change. And I’m sure she believes that, too. But there’s something deeper, there.
I suspect that she’s scared she won’t be able to adapt to the new, additional duties added to our roles. They are all technology based, and she’s in her early 60′s. She’s lamented before that she has a hard time learning the new systems that they give us to aid us with our jobs, and I know she refuses to use a couple of them because they didn’t provide us adequate training for those systems.
Underneath everything we do outwardly, there is something underlying. This is our “position”. When dealing with conflict, a person is supposed to be moved off of his or her position. Until we know what our position is, we can’t properly deal with our resistance. Find the driving factor to your resistance.
Once you’ve found it, confront it.
During this whole change process with my job, I panicked at first. I was already having a hard time learning my job to begin with – how would I be able to cope with learning a whole new job?
My position was really insecurity. I was, and still am, insecure as the newbie. I’m insecure in my lack of knowledge and I’m also the youngest member of my team. Once I confronted that, I was able to get over it and see the opportunity in the change.
Do you struggle with accepting change? What methods have you used to help yourself or others accept change?