Life is not simple. The world is moving at an accelerating rate especially when it comes to technology. It used to be that six months after you bought something it was obsolete. Then it was said it was obsolete as soon as you took it home. Now many products are obsolete before they are shipped from the factory.
We cannot escape change in the workplace. New competition, employees coming, employees going, new products or services, new technology, new boss, young people, boomers, challenging economy, new space, all contribute to stress and anxiety in the workplace!
The challenge of change is getting buy-in from the employees. “They should like the new view, even if it is open plan instead of their old office”, “Harold will enjoy this new computer program as he will no longer have to meet personally with the sales team”, “Eliminating three positions will increase our efficiency.”
William Bridges, in his book ‘Transitions’ states that people first realize that things will never be the same, which for some, may result in grieving or feeling of loss. From there they move into a period where things are no longer what they were but yet not what they will be. This can result in some feeling lost and disconnected. Once things begin to take shape and become complete then some become energized and it becomes the new reality.
In the face of change, having a leader who recognizes how our personalities and type preferences affect our view and reaction to change will go a long way to mitigating the stress and ‘elephants in the room’. Some will go, “Oh good, change!’, while others will withdraw and become silent. Some will look ahead at new possibilities. Some will worry about the future for those who were let go. Some will even wonder why it wasn’t them.
We do not have control over external changes, only our reaction to them. Changes made internally need careful orchestration if they are to be effective and not cause undue disruption.
Transparent, frequent communication is essential during the period of change. If those affected do not have up-to-date information they will create it and the ‘elephants’ will begin to herd!
Change can renew and enhance the culture of a workplace or create discontent …. Which will it be?
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