How to Navigate Through Change

In the fall of 2016, a company of 25,000 employees was experiencing a massive re-organizational change. The first wave of layoffs already displaced a large portion of employees and those remaining were required to reapply for their current position or apply for a new one.

This is not an unfamiliar story.  You personally may not have experienced a layoff, but you’ve certainly been through other abrupt changes in life.

This company hired me to speak with a select group of its employees on how to deal with these changes.  They were concerned that if they didn’t address the situation and provide resources, these events would severely impact work performance, workplace happiness and retention of desired employees.

Here is a highlight of what I shared with these employees that you can now use to quickly navigate through change.

Accept & Expect

Change is one of our only constants in life. Even as you’re reading this article, change is happening all around you. No matter if it’s physical, environmental or emotional, the fact is, it’s happening whether you want it or not.  Accept that change is inevitable and is going to happen.

Now take it a step further and expect that change will happen.  Be open to it.  Welcome it.  Embrace it.

The more you expect change, the easier it is to manage your feelings about it.

Expecting that change will happen is simply a mind game.  It will take time and practice to get there, but you should master it.

Now what happens when change strikes?

Choose & Respond        

The good news is that no matter what changes occur, you are in control.  I’m not referring to the event itself.  Rather you’re in control of what your experience looks like, how you feel and what your future experiences will be.  You have the power to choose your response which will then determine your outcome.

Let’s go back to the employees going through the organizational change.  Every employee faced the same events – layoffs, reapplying for their current position (or for a new one) and the possibility of another round of layoffs in which they may fall victim to.  But as I spoke to employees prior to my training, it was as if they were working at two different companies.  The difference was determined by their individual response to the changes.

Those that were fearful, negative or angry described the experience in such a painful way.  Their outcomes were sleepless nights, stress-filled days and outbursts with their coworkers and family.

Most people fear change because it goes beyond what they’re comfortable with and they assume it will be painful in some way.  But when you choose to respond with fear, your outcome will be negative. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Conversely, those employees that embraced change, seemed optimistic and hopeful.  Their outcomes were conversations with managers about positions they were previously too intimidated to show interest in, dreams about exciting new challenges and cheerful interactions with colleagues.

Those that choose to respond to change with positivity will have internal confidence, project increased energy and receive a better outcome.  They see change as an opportunity for something new and exciting and possibly better than their current situation.  It’s not guaranteed everything will be better or perfect, but with positivity, you’re increasing your odds.

If you’re struggling to create your own positivity, I invite you to read Three Strategies to Capture the Power of Positivity.

Final Thoughts

Accept that change surrounds you and is one of your only constants in life.  Expect that it will come at any time, good or bad.  I challenge you to then take control and choose to respond with positivity, knowing that change is bringing you opportunity, not pain.  Carry this into your daily life and your future success will grow beyond what you imagined.

How do you typically handle change?  What challenges arise when you’re faced with change?