Are you in control of change?

Change is a fact of life.  But what are you doing to make the change work for you?

Are you stepping back and letting the change just happen to you, or are you actively involved in seeking ways to make the change work for you?

Many people think that change is beyond their control.  It’s time to challenge that notion.

Whilst the decision to make a change may not be under your control (for example because it has been made by senior management), how you react to that change and how you plan for the change is within your control.

There’s nothing wrong with expressing sadness or disappointment with respect to a change.  These are healthy, natural emotions.  However, it’s important to find a way to help steer your emotions towards positivity and optimism.

And one way to do this, is to start taking control.

The word ‘control’ often has negative connotations for people, but in the case of change it can be liberating.  People usually find change stressful because they feel they are not in control of what is happening to them.

So, to feel in control, you need to take control.

The first step is to plan and think about the change.  This is about steering your own course by being “planned”, and working through what the change may mean for you and therefore what you want to do about it.   You can map out a series of approaches, with the benefits and dis-benefits of each of these options.  Consider how you can apply these options and make a decision as to what course you will take.

When you feel like you have options, you will feel more in control.

ControlAt the same time, don’t sit back and wait for the change.  Instead, become “active” with the change.

Often with change programs there are ways to get involved.  Look for those ways and actively participate.  For example, be the person that volunteers to be part of the change initiative’s change network, or the person that volunteers to be involved in the pilot program.

That way, you will be ahead of the curve and you’ll have first-hand knowledge of the change and what it could mean.  You’ll also get the opportunity to try new things and new ways of behaving.

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan in their book “Execution: The discipline of getting things done” write about the fact that “We don’t think ourselves into a new way of acting, we act ourselves into a new way of thinking”.

This is important because to be change ready you need to be willing to do things differently.   You need to embrace self-mobilisation – where you are planned and active.

Otherwise, you run the risk of letting the change just happen to you (subservient), channelling your action in ways that are counterproductive (scattered) or not achieving your desired outcome as you haven’t invested the appropriate energy or time into the change (stagnant).

So next time you are facing a change ask yourself: how can I best be prepared for this change and get involved to make the change work for me?

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