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8 Sep

The Winds of Change: A Personal Perspective

ChangeMany people view change as something that is negative and should be resisted.  In the Chinese language, the word “change” is actually comprised of two characters.  The first character is “danger” and the other is “opportunity”.  The Chinese realized over two millennia ago that “change” can take on different meanings, depending on how one approaches it.  If you work with your team to truly understand the costs and benefits of the proposed change, you can turn a potentially “dangerous” situation into an opportunity to learn and grow with the organization to make the project a success. 

Preparing yourself for change applies at work and in your personal life as well (think about the decision to get married or have a baby – now there’s some serious change in your life!). The change process can invoke the entire spectrum of human emotions – immobilization, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, exploration, acceptance and commitment.  Resistance to change is a natural defensive mechanism and not all resistance is bad.  Positive resistance shows that you are thinking about the changes and trying to make sense of it all.  Positive resistance includes: 

  • Open minded questioning
  • Disagreeing with the solution and lobbying for alternative solutions
  • Analyzing and appraising alternatives
  • Questioning the need
  • Challenging the vision

Positive resistance includes asking clarifying questions and taking time to analyze the answers you receive.  The more questions you ask about the proposed changes and how they will affect you, your team, and the project– the more prepared you will be to move through the accompanying emotions.  As long as you maintain an open mind and seek to have your concerns and fears addressed, the result should be a better understanding of the changes and project vision. Making an informed decision to support the proposed changes is critical to the success of the change and its impact on the people, project, and organization.

Instead of actively resisting change and focusing on what you may lose, you should look for the silver lining in that black cloud called change.  People tend to focus on the potential “danger” that change may bring.  After all, we are being asked to step outside of our “comfort zone” to take on new responsibilities and learn new “things” – technologies, methodologies, and business processes and rules.  When we leave our comfort zone, there is always a potential for increased stress due to a lack of understanding the new expectations, a perceived loss of control, and a chance of failure. Sharing your concerns and fears with your project team, Project Manager, or organization executive can minimize those concerned and fears.  Don’t internalize them and hope that they will go away – they won’t!  If you don’t get your questions answered through the standard communications channels (town hall meetings, memos, emails, and one-on-one meetings) you actively need to ask.  Remember, complaining is not the same as contributing!  Ask your manager to describe why your organization is implementing these changes and what the expected benefits will be.  Don’t ask your peers – they may be as confused as you.  Ask those people in your organization who have the answers, are in a position to listen to your concerns, and can act on them.  You shouldn’t have to feel like a “target”!  If you voice your concerns and have them addressed – you’ll start to feel less like a target and more like an informed “Partner-in-Change”!

If you have any questions about how Line of Sight can help your organization navigate these turbulent times, please visit our website at www.Line-of-Sight.com, email us at info@line-of-sight.com, or call us at 410-696-2610.

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