Why You Should Prepare Yourself for Change
A new year means new opportunities. At the very least it’s a chance to raise our head above our desks, survey our surroundings and if we’re facing an all too familiar scenario, perhaps determine whether a new direction is required. But what if that change is unwelcome or just something you’re not ready for yet? Being prepared for the unexpected may seem like an unattainable goal or a waste of time, like stock-piling for an apocalypse that may never materialise. However it’s not only possible but vital to equip yourself for change – without catastrophizing – in an ever-changing workplace environment.
The Only Thing That’s Constant Is Change
Almost 2,500 years ago, a Greek Philosopher called Heraclitus said “the only thing that’s constant is change”.
He couldn’t possibly have imagined how right he was and the changes that have taken place since his time but could he have been prepared for them? Not every one of them perhaps but we can all prepare for the change that’s in front of us, even before it happens.
The skills we need to navigate changing circumstances – corporately, relationally and professionally – are there for the taking, skills that equip us for the workplace and make us better leaders for those around us. That often requires a willingness to make the hard choices that initiate change for the better, despite the challenges, and even when unforeseen circumstances force change upon us.
One area of constant change is the impact of developing technologies which are challenging our working environments all the time. Where the Industrial Revolution took decades to impact cities, regions and countries, the Digital Revolution has swept in like a virus and made its presence felt across every industry in no time at all, seemingly introducing something new every week. Whilst new technology frees us from work that can be automated and makes communication easier, the challenges to current structures, distribution networks and traditional organisations remain, and these inevitably have an impact on individuals, including you and your team. And whether it’s the result of a merger, a redundancy or a new leadership team, managing ourselves can be challenging enough.
As a leader in any environment a further challenge is how to bring your people with you through these times. For most leaders the first step is communicating what’s to come in a way that doesn’t communicate uncertainty, insecurity or fear. Having confidence in your own ability to navigate those changes enables you to take the lead and provide a path for those around you to follow. Mismanage the transition for your business and you potentially damage your staff as well as your productivity and you might find yourself dealing with more challenges than change.
Communicating Change (or How NOT To Inspire Confidence in Those Around You)
Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of some of these communication strategies, or lack thereof. Or perhaps you recognise a tendency in yourself to respond to change in a similar way.
- Surprise your team by communicating as little as possible until as late as possible and then require them to do something radically different from what they were expecting, with as much inconvenience and hard work as possible
- Expect your team to respond rapidly and all in the same way. Don’t allow any time for individuals to come to terms with the decisions made or provide feedback during the process. This suggests that they may have something unique to contribute and it may require you to adapt to further changes
- Face resistance with … resistance. If a team member appear to be struggling to come to terms with the proposed changes, be sure to dig in your heels and become more entrenched than they are. Resistors often need time just to see the benefits of change from another perspective and if you communicate these benefits in another way this may require you to re-evaluate them yourself.
The reality is change scares us. It requires us to loosen our grip on familiar surroundings and to face circumstances where we are unsure of our ability to thrive. Preparing for change is as much about attitude as it is about aptitude, which is why you can prepare for change you cannot see.
Of course you can try to keep up. Keep working out, keep reading the latest journals, keep climbing the corporate ladder. Keep paddling like the proverbial swan, gliding smoothly on the surface whilst paddling frantically underneath.
Because it can feel as though the more information we have, the more we can control our environment and therefore manage the circumstances as well as those around us. However it’s less about information and more about transformation. Change is so often feels like the rollercoaster, the white water rapids, or the wild horses, that if we work hard enough on we think we can adapt to or tame. Instead change is both a vehicle for and a means by which we can experience transformation for ourselves, and it’s our experience at Moving Performance that music can help us in that process.
So if change is so fraught with challenges and so difficult to manage, why confront it?
Why You Should Prepare Yourself For Change
- Because it’s worth it.
Despite the challenge, the uncertainty and discomfort, change is an opportunity for growth personally and corporately.
- Because it’s inevitable.
Heraclitus was right. Everything changes. People develop. Businesses grow. And whether it’s through success or failure, businesses and individuals that won’t adapt to a changing environment, get left behind. Resisting change means we miss out on the new opportunities that might have been ours for the taking.
- Because it’s exciting
We often describe tumultuous events as a rollercoaster but without those ups and downs, the twists and turns, the unexpected leaps into uncertainty, it would be your average train journey. And if our lives were one long predictable walk through the same activities every day, life itself would be very dull.
Most of us thrive on overcoming the challenges around us, whether that’s dealing with the mundane or the adventurous. However if we equip ourselves for those times, it’s through the challenges that we grow.
Using Music to Inspire Change
We work with businesses and organisations currently facing transition as well as equipping wise leaders to prepare for change before it happens. Through our conferences we’ve seen people embrace change, quickly and more effectively, leading to increased engagement and more productivity. Our creative solutions help teams express how they feel about change, and allow them to develop a greater understanding of how they can work together more effectively in a changing environment.