How to thrive on change

Tirsdag, 11. oktober 2016

I am willing to bet that some kind of organizational change is going on in your organization right now, and that for you in your job, change is the norm. The issue of change processes in organizations and how to cope with them is something I help leaders address constantly in my work as a coach.

There is no easy answer to the question of how to handle change for the individual. However it is possible to work with the way you see change and approach change. You can chose how you look at what happens as well as make desicions on how you act. We work in a given context and environment. That will always be the case, still you are an active shaper of that environment through your actions.

Below I have described ways of looking at the ongoing change processes that might provide you with alternative views and hopefully inspire you when facing change processes.

Change as opportunity for your personal learning

When the next change process is announced you can try to dig a little deeper into the why's and the what's. For example look at what is out in writing. Read it thoroughly and try to understand how it links to or build on current strategy.

Usually changes incorporate some kind of saving money and becoming more efficient and effective. Compare it with what has been communicated earlier. Maybe the numbers are difficult for you to get hold of or understand. But then ask questions - not defensive questions, but questions that make you wiser on the numbers.

Numbers are one thing, you can also look for is the stories behind the numbers. Different parties in the organization have different stories. This kind of digging deeper into the change, makes you better informed when you decide how you want to relate to what is happening.

What will you say to whom, where will you voice your opinion and suggestion? When engaging in this you should try to look for patterns, dynamics and trends things that will enhance your understanding of the complexity of change in your organization.


Pushing the values important to you during change

Look for the values behind a given change. Most organizations have a formal set of values. In the Danish brewery Carlsberg responsiblity is a core value. "Responsible business reduces risks, increases efficiency and contributes to a good reputation, which enhances value creation in the longer term.” (found on their website).

If you were working with Carlsberg and responsibility were important to you, you might work with that value in your approaches to the change. But you need to find the values of your own organization that you find important. Then use these values to inform your decisions and actions.

When you link you actions to what is meaningful to you, it will help you create meaning for yourself, and in that way help you cope with the change coming your way.


Build you change identity

Change is never random. It is taking place in the complex systems that make up our organizations, private as well as public. By the end of the day it is a person that makes change happen. There is a self that is getting organized, your self. We create ourselves in relation to our surroundings and it can be said that we as individuals change in order to be able to be the same or survive.

Humans have the power of making choices and taking decisions. By learning from change and focusing on promoting values you think are important in any given change process you can start building your change identity. It means that you take control over how you are seen when reacting to change on your terms, reflecting your values.

What I am writing here is by no means easy. It is however worth thinking about as one possible way of increasing meaning and following that, hopefully more happiness in your worklife.

This post was inspired by the writings of Margaret J. Wheatley primarily her book "So far from home - lost and found in our brave new world" written in 2012.

The post is written by Susanne Kandrup working as a coach with The Lime Guild.