Change is a small word that can strike fear in the hearts of many. Yet life is full of change, especially in the business world. While those affected may not always get to decide when change happens, they can learn to manage it.
These 10 tips will help even the most change-phobic person stay calm and in control:
- Don’t resist. While your gut reaction to change is often refusal, such a response is not productive. Change is inevitable, and you must learn to accept it. The quicker you do, the smoother your transition.
- Find the positive. Even the most difficult changes can produce positive results. Don’t waste time dwelling on what you don’t like. Focus instead on the potential benefits and new opportunities the changes may bring, and your spirits will remain lighter throughout the transition.
- Create a list. You’ll feel much better about change when you’re able to manage its details and results. Make a list of what needs to be done to implement the change. The more prepared you are, the less change will overwhelm you.
- Familiarize quickly. Jump headfirst into change, whether it’s new ways of doing things, new offices, or new teams. Take time up front to learn a new program, take a tour of a new office facility, or introduce yourself to a new coworker. The more quickly you are acclimated to new things, the more quickly they will become familiar to you.
- Consider others. Change rarely affects one person; in most cases it affects many people at once. Change experienced as a group can become either a supportive, unifying experience or a negative, frustrating one. Consider what kind of group you want to be a part of, and then seek to make it so through your words and actions.
- Focus on one change at a time. While we can learn to accept and manage change, piling numerous changes up all at once can become too overwhelming, even for the most flexible of us. If there are many changes going on in your work life, this is probably not the best time to also start those home renovations. Managing change in one area of your life is easier when you have other areas that remain familiar and comforting.
- Exercise patience with yourself. When things change significantly, accept that you will not be able to master them all right away. If you’re dealing with updated computer systems, a shakeup in business operations, or any other major business change, things will take time. Give yourself a break, and don’t add to your stress by trying to become a whiz at everything overnight.
- Ask productive questions. Ask yourself questions that will make a positive difference, such as, “How can I help facilitate the transition?” or “How will I need to adjust my daily schedule to accommodate this new process?” Avoid asking “whys,” and instead learn to move forward by asking questions that will help you become comfortable with the changes.
- Take control. Change is stressful because it threatens a person’s sense of control. Don’t allow a powerless feeling to overwhelm you; face new challenges head-on. Focus on how you can make it work for you. You will feel empowered by your renewed sense of control when you stop allowing change to overcome you, and instead overcome change through hard work and steady determination.
- Don’t get too comfortable. While it’s important to familiarize and adjust to change, it’s fruitless to get so comfortable that you believe things will not change again. Adjust, but do so with the knowledge that nothing lasts forever, and this too may give way to more change in the future.
Managing change with peace and confidence is entirely possible. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well-equipped to work through any change that life may throw at you, in both your professional and personal lives.