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Getting Through Change

Question:

Our company is going through a lot of changes lately… any ideas for how to best deal with these changes?

Answer:

There is so much change taking place in the workforce today, we can’t escape it. But it can’t just be ignored, we have to decide how we are going to handle or cope with each change. It’s normal for the ‘current’ way to feel more comfortable and the ‘new’ way to feel uncomfortable – and no one likes to feel uncomfortable. But change is unavoidable in today’s work world, so we have to find a way to accept the “new normal”.

Change evokes all types of responses – anxiety, fear, irritability, resentfulness, overwhelmed AND excitement, opportunity, growth, newness, fresh. It is important to identify how you respond: positive or negative; constructive or destructive; engaging or defensive. Once you know your response, you can then work toward responding more positively. Here are a few tips for getting through change:

  • Pay Attention – Notice signs that change is needed and/or going to happen. If we anticipate a change, we can better prepare ourselves.
  • Knowledge – Knowledge is power. Whether change is happening or imminent, seek information to help you understand it. It’s easier to cope with something if you have a little information.
  • Communicate – Everyone involved is going through the change and likely having mixed emotions. As you share, you’ll find out you are not alone, and together you may be able to identify ways to cope with the change in a positive way.
  • Embrace – Imagine how it will feel once the change becomes the “new normal”. Get involved in the change and encourage others to accept the change through positive talk.
  • Coping Skills – During a stressful time, our bodies all respond differently. Some possible coping strategies may include:
    • Exercise – If you exercise keep doing it and if you are not exercising try adding some.
    • Distractions – Do something for yourself that gets your mind off of the change for a little bit each day.
    • Goal Setting – Establish goals that will help walk you through the change process so you feel more in control of what is taking place.
    • Reflection – Think about past changes you’ve gone through that you survived, and even thrived as a result.

Change is inevitable so we must find ways to accept change. As noted in Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges, “The only certainty is that between here and there will be a lot of change…There’s no way to avoid it. But you can manage it. You can. And if you want to come through in one piece, you must.”

For a company to grow it often involves a lot of change. HR Strategy isn’t just about planning for the change, sometimes it means coping with the aftermath of creating change. Given the individual nature of humans there is no cookie cutter answer for dealing with change; the solution is as individual as each person in the organization. If you are struggling with change in your organization we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR inc. can help you with your strategy for change.