Making the Most of Change


We’ve been hearing for some time that the pace of change is accelerating, and never has that seemed truer than these past 18 months. At times, the pace and the scale of change can make us feel like things are spiraling out of control.

This feeling of losing control impacts our personal and professional relationships, how we manage and lead our organizations. Yet change can also be a positive, challenging conventional wisdom (ever heard, “this is how we always have done it”), and opening new possibil
ities which create new realities.

In his recently published book, “RESET: A Leader's Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval”, President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, Johnny Taylor, Jr., suggests that leaders “Make constant reset your friend.” He adds that “Upheaval brings about opportunities to rethink, reset, and restructure your organization." 

While our rational, thinking brain understands and may welcome change, our emotional, feeling brain may be less open to accepting and embracing that change. So how can we as leaders support out teams and members in adjusting to and managing change?


In their book, "Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change," William and Susan Bridges write, “It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”

As leaders and managers, how we help our teams and members process change is a cornerstone for making effective change. Five strategies to consider:

• Create an environment that views change as an opportunity and asks “why not” rather “why” when it comes to trying something new.

• Support individuals in each stage of the transition process, understanding that each person will be at different points in the journey.

• Over communicate and make it two-way. Better to be communicate frequently (preferably in-person) than to have large gaps. Also encourage questions (even if you don’t have all the answers) and one-one communications.

• Give people space to learn and make mistakes. Especially as your staff is being asked to learn new skills, often on the fly, let people know its ok if they mess up, provided of course that they learn from it.

• Celebrate all wins!

Just like death and taxes, one thing that is certain is change. We can do our best to ignore change, or wish for times gone by, but it is those individuals, teams, and organizations who embrace and lead change that will be most successful, happy and fulfilled.

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