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WHEN THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE

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Last week at the dinner table of our ladies business network group, one of my table companions asked me why I prefer working with the bigger companies. She is working for one of worlds biggest companies herself. While I was trying to explain the feeling of dynamism I get when working with people in complex, multicultural and fast changing environments that come with multinationals, she said: “that is true, the only constant is change”. And that kind of summarizes the whole idea for me.

I have written it before. I am a “change-addict”. I quickly get bored and where some people find it difficult to handle change, I am one of those finding it difficult to have no change at all. I need the challenge and the tension. So this made me thinking. Why is it that some people love the change, whilst others are caught in frustration when things change, even when it changes for the better? And of course, it relates to ones personality. But what if your natural reaction to change is one of confusion and stress?

Here are 3 tips to handle and embrace change. Because even when you did not wanted or asked for the change, how you react to it is 100% your choice!

1. Look at it as a new beginning, not an ending

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. For me, these famous words by Dan Millman form one of the most valuable quotes ever. If you are familiar with the Change Curve (Kubler-Ross), widely used in business and change management, you’ll probably know that it is in fact based on personal transition in grief and loss. Every change process, big or small, begins with letting go. Saying goodbye to the familiar, the certain, the status quo. Think about changes that possibly impact your job security. Or a new company strategy that might cancel your field of expertise within the company.

The red wire is that resistance always comes before optimism and acceptance. And it’s ok to grieve. But the longer you resist the change, the longer you will feel stressful and unpleasant. When you are able to maintain a positive attitude, and focus your energy on exploring the new opportunities that come with the change, you might be pleasantly surprised.

2. Don’t adapt to cope but adapt to win (Max McKeown)

When you are able to focus on opportunities and replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity, it’s much easier to overcome the victim stance. And we all know simply maintaining the status quo leads to failure anyway. So not changing is fatal. It’s not even an option. You need to adapt or you get left behind. This counts for individuals as well as organizations. Think for yourself what you might lose if you would be reluctant to change a thing in your work of life.

But adapting to win is not only coping with changes, it is finding the benefits, opportunities and in the end, results. Seek clarity and understanding and take an active and positive role in the change process. They say “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” for a reason. So dream big. Be bold. Take risks. Maintain a learning orientation. Commit to new beginnings. And believe in yourself. It’s not only being part of your tomorrow but being part of creating that tomorrow.

3. Know that the fundamentals don’t change

It’s easier to live with uncertainty when you can see the larger potential. Some organizations have been changing a lot and fast but the overarching goals have not changed in years. Organizations simply need to react on the ball not to be left behind by the competition. And apart from this result-orientation, we all want great places to work in changing economies and generations. So in order to reach those larger goals, many small changes are a necessity. When you are able to see the bigger picture, you will find out there’s really not so much changing after all. So be patient, communicate and ask for support when you get stuck. And understand that discomfort is inherent to change. Even as a leader. And not everyone processes changes at the same speed.

Not everyone is a change-addict.
And that is OK.

– Do you want to share some leadership tips for leading others through change?
– What has helped you guide your team in the past?
– Do you have some other effective methods for coping with it at a personal level?

Don’t hesitate to comment below!

Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself.