Embracing change in life and work

Published by mpume on

Defining Change

“Change is a general transition of something or phase to another state condition. Implies movement toward a goal, an idealized state, or a vision of what should be and movement away from present conditions, beliefs, or attitudes. A never-ending process of readjustment and readaptation, as people respond behaviorally to ever changing circumstances. In order to properly define the change, you need to identify the behavior gap between the current state and the future state.”

Where to start.
  • Identify what is changing, this defines where you are moving from, which is the current state and what you are moving to, which is the future state. Mostly, it answers what success will look like when you get it.
  • Understand why you are doing it, this defines the reason for the change. The first questions people usually ask when hearing about a change is, “What’s in it for me?”  “What does this change mean to me in my job?”
  • Ask what the consequences would be if you didn’t change, the answer to this question defines in business and human terms the downsides or risks of not changing.
What does it mean to embrace change?

Embracing change means being able to adapt  to and embrace your new way of doing things, whether it’s work, personal or home. Embracing change comes with different key values.  Research shows that for change to work, there has to be sufficient dissatisfaction with the old way of doing things. But people also need to feel confident that the new approach will be better and that there’s a clear route to get there.

When setting out to accomplish something, we often think in terms of the outcome. Instead of enjoying the experience, we create expectations of the end product, missing out on enjoying the process.  We often look at our goals in life in that way. Whether we want to make a big change, or a change happens to us, we visualise the outcome. We set expectations, but this way of thinking can make it difficult to navigate through change since making a big change in life doesn’t happen overnight.

Reasons people resist change in their personal or work life.

Fear of the unknown

Fear of what you don’t know is one of the crucial reasons why employees resist change. In the context of a business, employees’ responses to organisational change can range from fear and panic to enthusiastic support. During periods of change, some employees may feel the need to hold on to the past because it was a more secure, predictable time. If what they did in the past worked well for them, they may resist changing their behaviour out of fear that they will not achieve as much in the future. Leading a change requires not springing surprises on people.

Loss of control

This is a key reason why people resist change. Familiar routines help one develop a sense of control over their life. Being asked to change the way you do things may make you feel powerless and confused. People are more likely to understand and implement changes when they feel they have some form of control.

Keeping the doors of communication open and seeking for input, support, and help from employees lets employees know that their contributions matter. Involve them, to get feedback and allow them to volunteer for participatory roles in the change, this will in turn, help to give them a sense of control during periods of change.

Poor Timing

Another viable reason why employees resist change at work is poor timing. When change comes at a time, we are not ready or prepared for it, it makes people uncomfortable. Change must be introduced when there are no other major initiatives going on. Sometimes it is not what a leader does, but it is how, when, and why they do it that creates resistance to change!

Undue resistance can happen because changes are introduced in an insensitive manner or at the “wrong” time. For any significant organisational change effort to be effective, leadership must come out of their comfort zone and prepare a comprehensive change strategy to address barriers.

Because of poor timing, sometimes, change in organisations necessitates changes in skills, and some people will feel that they may not be able to make the transition well. Therefore, the only way for them to try and survive is to kick against the change.

Past Change Experience

Our attitudes about change are partly determined by the way we have experienced the change in the past. Any past negative experiences may be cause for resistance in the future when there is a need for change.

How to embrace change in the workplace.

Have a coach or mentor

Embracing change is not a walk in the park, thus a coach or mentor on your side is highly recommended to guide you and keep things in perspective.  A mentor can help you recognise the limited thought patterns that can prevent you from reaching your new beginning.

Adopt an attitude of a learner and keep learning

Even when things get tough, approach change as a learning opportunity. Embracing change requires that you keep an open mind, allow yourself to discover new things.

Don’t give up!

You may experience failures that make it difficult to stay driven throughout the transition process. It takes hard work and persistence to make big dreams a reality and  when results don’t happen as quickly as you would like don’t throw in the towel.

Benefits of change in the workplace

Change can bring fresh perspective and approaches

Introducing new things can be unsettling. However, change that brings fresh approaches to the everyday work-flow or home life , can actually be refreshing once you get the hang of things.

Increased Opportunity

Change often translates to opportunity for those who are willing to embrace it. A change such as reorganisation or mergers, can create new positions, new divisions or departments, and plenty of opportunities to create a new job title.

Friendly competition

Change  encourages everyone to step up their own performance so as to not appear to be falling behind. Friendly competition and an internal drive to elevate yourself to peak-performance levels can help you boost your career.

Conclusion

Whether you gladly embrace change or you dread anything new and different, when things start to move in the workplace, your only options are to assimilate or be miserable. Don’t dismiss new ideas or processes just because they are new; make an effort to give change an honest try. Be willing to jump in and take risks. The old adage, nothing ventured, nothing gained, applies here. If there is a possibility for change, stretch yourself, you may find an opportunity for your own personal and professional evolution. Embracing change is an important life skill that can bring growth and help you build a life of purpose and fulfillment.


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