Dealing with Change in the Workplace

The first step in changing a workplace is to adjust your attitude about changing. The process is not a “have to.” It is a “get to”!  It may seem like semantics, but how you think and talk about change matters!  

While it is essential to be nimble and shift quickly, building the change muscles for yourself and the organization is equally imperative.  Momentum is created by doing change.  Take on a minor issue that everyone wants to move in another direction.  It will begin to start a process in which everyone is somewhat comfortable. 

Changing for change sake is never an effective strategy.  The organization must have a big why to change how it operates.  It is worth the time to express why a change is needed. Include in the development what will change, what will be impacted, who will be affected, and list the positive and negative effects of the change.   It is recommended that you create a written purpose statement for the change so everyone understands the vision for the change process. 

The process of change is emotional for every person involved. It is also very personal regardless of the role.   Individuality is what makes the procedure so challenging and so rewarding when done well.   Everyone goes through these steps of change:

Resist – “I am not changing.”

Observe – “I will see what happens.”

Accept – “Change is happening.” 

Engage – “I am going to be a part of the process.” 

Acknowledge – “This change is ok, and I support it.” 

Celebrate – “We did it!”

There are times when individuals will move backward in the process when challenges arise, or a particular part of the change process begins or ends.   Everyone must understand where they are on the steps to changing and that everyone can go through it at their own pace.   The team leader needs to know where every team member is on the steps of change at any given time, including themselves.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates