Have you ever been affected by change at work? Of course you have. It’s the only constant in any organization. Things are going to change. They are going to change often, and they are going to change whether you are ready or not. The key is to be ready.
People, and that includes you, resist change because of fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of losing something you have today. You resist the change because of how you perceive the change will affect you. If your company is doing a good job of communicating the change, and the implications it will bring, that will help to alleviate the fear. The problem is that most companies do a horrible job of this part of the change process. That means the burden of education falls on you.
The self-education cycle for a change should look something like this:
- Find out as much as you can about the change that is happening. Talk to your manager, senior leaders, and your colleagues. Take the information you receive from these people as data. Nothing more. Don’t attach feelings to the data or try to interpret it yet. Just take in the data. Next, look to outside sources. Do some research. What other organizations have undergone change like this and what has been the result. Add this information to the data pool.
- Next, analyze all the information you have taken in and see if you can get a good read on how you are feeling about the change. Can you support it? If not, why? Is it because you don’t have enough information yet to make an informed judgement, or is it because your value system or some other mechanism is causing you to feel like this is bad thing for you personally? If it’s the former, go back to the drawing board and dig for more information. Keep asking questions until that part of the question disappears.
- Finally, if the answer is that you feel you can’t support the change, but you might be able to get there eventually, assess the gap between where you are today and where you need to be to fully support the change. What will it take to close the gap? How will you go about it? Who can help you?
I think you will find that if you take the initiative to educate yourself and fully understand what is taking place, your fear will subside and you will be better prepared to participate in the change process.
For more information, watch our short video about change and take the Change Readiness Self-Assessment.
Or preview our Supporting Change participant manual to see if you or your organization can benefit from some additional training in this area.