Successfully Navigating Change in the Workplace

Human Resource is described as: the department of a business or organization that deals with the hiring, administration, and training of personnel.

Sure, but add the words human beings to the definition and it takes on a multitude of layers that can resemble a three dimensional game of chess! And change can cost billions!

When I decided to speak on change I quickly realized that this topic bridged the professional and personal lives of employees. After all, we’ve all been faced with change and understand all to well that it can sometimes be difficult at best.

Thankfully, 28 years of helping others navigate change at a Berkshire Hathaway Fortune 500 company gave me insight I share with groups from coast to coast.  As HR professionals, we’re called upon by Ceo’s, Presidents, first year employees and everyone in between to assist in various levels of change. I call it “Fractured Time” because it depletes energy, decreases productivity and places fear into otherwise strong workers.

Happily, I found many women and men who were able to navigate change and even thrive during difficult times. Here’s how they did it.

  1. Eliminating Fear

Think it’s easy, we’ll guess again. I’ve seen giants fall to change and $35,000 a year employees navigate it so well they received promotions.

I began to notice that those who understood that changed occurred all the time were much better equipped to make it through unscathed. One person described it this way.

“Today, we’re facing this direction and next week we’ll be facing another direction. What’s important Scott is that we continue to face in the direction our company is in and make personal adjustments along the way.”

So true. How about you? The great unknown that fear places upon us will slow you down to a crawl if allowed. Change occurs and we can do little to stop it. However, we can do much to increase our chances of making it through the change. Begin with eliminating fear. Make it your friend. Come to some sort of agreement. Okay fear, I acknowledge you exist but I’m in control! Successful women and men know this. Sure, it bothers them and makes work/life interesting. The key is in how we choose to deal with it.

  1. Personally Speaking

We face change at home all the time. It can follow us to work in our car or on the train. Pretending it doesn’t matter won’t make it go away. Dealing with it will.

Someone once said- We speak about someday dealing with that or someday dealing with the change that’s glaring us in the face when someday isn’t even a day of the week!

Our complex lives leave little time for relaxation. Is there a way to gain back some precious time that runs through our hands like sand?

Once again, our ability to confront change head on and deal with it can bring the most positive results. These include: More time for you. More time to give to others and the change that was staring you in the face just a day ago is now a thing of the past. Ahhhhhh…..

And of course, you squashed the fear and succeeded. Way to go!

  1. The Payoff- The Secret

DYK? Managers, bosses and companies are always watching our performance. Duh! We’re all graded on it and given raises and promotions, in part for our good performance.

Most of us answer to someone with a higher position at work. At the end of the day we go home and become the non-work us leaving that world behind. Our lives are full, we need some rest and then it’s back to work in the morning.

At the office, change affects us, connects us and sometimes directs us. If you’re looking for a promotion, if you like receiving that yearly raise, if you’d like to stay employed than you have a distinct advantage over others. Remember what I mentioned above? There is a direct correlation between perception and advancement. If your manager remembers your Ninja-like skill of successfully navigating change you will be looked upon as a savior. Why? Because, you made a difficult situation pertaining to change easier for them to navigate. And, trust me; they also remember the staff that did not assist them as well. They complained- a lot. They couldn’t handle it well. They poisoned those around them.

In the meantime, YOU kept it together. YOU successfully navigated change. YOU are the one that will be remembered as opportunities arise.

Was it easy? Heck no! Did you make it? Heck yes. Are you better for having done so?

YES, yes you are!

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