“I can’t change the direction of the wind. But I can adjust my sails”. In today’s world, whether a company is on the upside of the growth curve or fighting to survive, one thing is common – The people working within those organizations are experiencing change in a very personal way. Employees have to stop what they have been doing and work with a different approach, with different team members, with new technologies requiring new skills and sometimes in a different culture where they may have to work away from home more frequently or move to another set up in a strange new city.
When employees face these kinds of dramatic changes in the way they live and work, the reaction sometimes may be negative and unproductive. What had been predictable and stable at work is now replaced by confusion, vagueness and uncertainty.
In such scenario, the managers of an organization have to provide the bridge from the old way of doing things to new work practices. Interestingly, these managers are also employees who experience the same reactions as everyone else. Then how can a manager lead when he or she may be uncertain and uncomfortable about the change. There are productive behaviors that a manager can learn to cope with change to help others through. These behaviors can be classified into the following major themes:
- Personally refocus for managers: The first step in helping others implement change is to help yourself. Managers need to understand how they are personally reacting and how change is affecting them. Once they understand their reaction, they can adapt to their role comfortably.
- Lead the team through: A work group needs strong leadership to provide direction, a degree of clarity and sense of progress when they aren’t clear answers to questions and rumors begin to fly. The manager needs to help the team adapt to and cope with newness.
- Show a path to Individuals: Individuals react to change in different ways. Until a change has taken root within a work group, some individuals may need extra coaching and advice on how to cope. The manager needs to sit with employees with strong, unproductive reactions to change to instill a firm, optimistic picture of the future.
- Take control of the personal transition (using an individual change management model like ADKAR)
- Awareness of the need to change.
- Desire to participate and support the change.
- Knowledge of how to change and what the change looks like.
- Ability to implement the change on a day to day basis.
- Reinforcement to keep the change in place.
From employee’s point of view, it’s very important to induce the following three aspects as they will ultimately make changes to how they do their day to day work!
- Seek out information related to the business reasons for change and the personal impact of the change and understand the need for change thoroughly.
- Provide feedback and reaction to the change and the change management efforts.
- Last but not the least; accept change with confidence and positivity.Charles Darwin’s age old saying that “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change “is so relevant for today’s professionals.
Above is all about coping up and dealing with a change that a person may not want or willingly decide to choose but have to accept it by force. The other aspect of change that is most talked about nowadays is individual specific -yes, regarding change of job which an individual decides as per his or her own wish, basis self needs. Such needs can be either financial or non-financial or sometimes both, professional ambition and goals, level of self-contentment or sometimes based on personal and family priorities or commitments. Debate is going on for past quite some time now whether one should be stable for a particular period of time in one organization or in one role or should move on to accept new assignment. However, nobody has a specific answer as what should be that “exact time” after which a person should change a job or a role.
I personally feel that first of all everyone should set a target for self as what are their priorities in life keeping their personal and professional ambitions. What kind of job or role they want to do in their career and in what kind of organization. Secondly, need to define own satisfaction level very accurately. One should answer to self that whether definition of success and satisfaction is about reaching to a certain level and position in career, whether earning enormous wealth and build a sound financial status and social security or just doing and enjoying what you do every day irrespective of position, role, earnings or last but not the least just doing a job that is taking care of finances, work life balance and overall individual contentment. Ultimately one’s self satisfaction is the key to happiness because a satisfied life is better than a successful life because our success is measured by others, but our satisfaction is measured by our own soul, mind and heart.But yes, one should be very clear on his or her priorities in life before taking any action because even if one is satisfied, it is equally important that he or she should be fully engaged in what they are doing. Ultimately a satisfied and engaged individual basis their level of satisfaction and engagement consciously and sometimes sub consciously outlines the time to be spent in a particular job or in a role.
Since priorities, level of satisfaction and engagement varies from person to person, time spent by individuals in a particular job or role also varies accordingly. Pertinent to mention here that defining self-satisfaction and engagement level sometimes depends on the generation also which a person belongs to, though majority believes that it’s a dominant catalyst. Besides, societal and cultural upbringing along with childhood experiences also plays a vital role.
One should answer to self that whether definition of success and satisfaction is about reaching to a certain level and position in career, whether earning enormous wealth and build a sound financial status and social security or just doing and enjoying what you do every day irrespective of position, role, earnings or last but not the least just doing a job that is taking care of finances, work life balance and overall individual contentment.
Personally speaking, in my seventeen years of HR career, I have changed job & role multiple times. Sometimes I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, sometimes I wanted to do what I like to do in a job and sometimes I was compelled to put my personal and family priorities at first place.Honestly, every time I changed a job, I had to face criticism from people from one school of thought who advocates for stability, particularly people from baby boomers generation and from generation X.
In fact they are not wrong because that’s how their upbringing has been. But is it worth to just stay and continue in a job or a role for the sake of it and compromising your satisfaction and engagement level, work life balance and sometime mental peace and in the process becoming unproductive. So why not look for something that gives mental peace and satisfaction. But again it’s an individual choice as stated above and also one should be ready to accept the challenges associated with change. In my opinion, change exposes you to meet different set of people, different culture, and different region and makes you more confident when it comes to dealing with people of varied culture, or when you are compelled to go to a different environment and adjust accordingly. My father retired from a government job. In his generation, stability and that too if you are working in a government job was the “mantra”.
Hence, he didn’t changed his job but how he inculcated the habit of change in me was by virtue of accepting change in role within the organization, relocation and accepting change of place whenever he was asked for and in the process compelling me to travel to various places and meeting people from varied background and culture. So even by not changing his job he accepted change in his own way which I as a kid got highly impacted, positively of course. I saw him grown from ranks. From a junior level staff to a gazzetted ranked officer in a central govt. organization in his time and age speaks not only abouthis caliber, capability and competency but of course the ability to embrace changeas well. To conclude, don’t be afraid to change. You may lose something good but you may gain something better. Success begins when you step out from your comfort zone. So embrace change without any fear!