Change is a Constant
There seems to be ongoing change for many of us at the moment. For all of us there is a change of government that some will like and some will not. A number of our clients are implementing changes to the way they deal with clients and customers and others are undergoing restructures. At a personal level we currently have a friend changing jobs and another who has made some big changes in their career. One of us has moved from a spacious house to a smaller unit and another is looking at buying their first property. Interestingly even when we seek out and drive some of these changes it can take some time to readjust and at times be frustrating and unsettling. When change is forced upon us and is not what we wanted it can be pretty tough to cope with.
Our friend who is changing jobs is only doing this after careful consideration because she was unsatisfied with her role and couldn’t find ways to improve things. She wasn’t keen to change jobs but after working with her boss to implement some ideas for improvement didn’t work out she found another role, which she hopes will provide more job satisfaction. She recognised the risk in this and used the knowledge of what hasn’t worked to help her identify what should work and checked out her thoughts with a number of her friends. How can we know if what are moving to is better than what we have left? It requires courage to take the leap also true when we implement change in an organisation. We need careful review of what we want to achieve and what has not been effective so we can identify options that will be more effective. Stakeholder consultation and feedback is an important component of working out where to go and for checking out assumptions. Options and an implementation plan.
For the friend looking at a career change once the end goal or vision had been identified it was easier to plan and execute the actions to achieve this. In organisational change we need to give people clear reasons for change and then a vision of the new future and a plan to get there.
Patricia and her partner have moved from a spacious house to a smaller unit. Downsizing they call it! It was extensively planned for very good reasons and the logistical side of it went very well. The house was sold quickly, furniture was sold or given away, the garage was cleared out, rubbish removed and the unit moved into efficiently. However, they were both sad and reticent to let go of items that had emotional attachment to them, a son’s childhood bed, an old magazine collection, books from university and much loved furniture that was too big. Often in change there is ending, losing and letting go and this often has an emotional component that affects mood and motivation in a work setting. Grumbling and debriefing to a sympathetic ear can help. On two occasions Patricia drove automatically ‘home’ to her old house. In many changes we have to adopt new habits or learn new skills and we need to override our unconscious competence. This often takes time, requires effort and concentration, which at work can be frustrating and a cause of annoyance and complaint. This requires organisations to have patience with people learning new ways of working and a recognition that in the short term productivity may go down before it goes up.
How have these changes fared for people? The new job and career change have provided increased motivation and a sense of direction. After a period of doubt and confusion our friends seem happier and have managed the change well. Patricia now loves her low maintenance life but only after some hard work and angst.
And what about the potential property owner? Well that is a work in progress. They are still working out where they will live and what the costs and risks will be – just like an organisation embarking on their new strategy.
Marana Consulting Group have recently facilitated a series of Change workshops for all staff at a local council who prepared their staff and managers for a change of General Manager who left after 27 years to retire. Training sessions included Dealing with Change geared for staff and Managing Change facilitated for the management level.
For more information on our services and support for organisations undergoing change call Marana on 02 9439 6040.
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