Last week, we had an opportunity to reflect on change and how it is impacting us. I hope that you have taken some time to reflect. Even 15 minutes of reflection time can help you better understand how change is impacting you which can help you be in a better place to support your coalition during these ever-changing times. The first part of self-reflection begins with the “awareness” of change and the second part of self-reflection considers the “management” of change. Some of us tend to be very calm, cool and collected when change happens and manage that change in a serious and focused way. One of my favorite examples of this is Captain Sulley when he landed a damaged plane in the Hudson. Others of us may react with high levels of emotion (crying, yelling, laughing hysterically…) – and this may differ depending upon the change as well. I still remember when I was a young girl that if someone was very angry and made a very angry face, I would start to laugh. This was not an effective relationship-management technique (Who wants to be laughed at when they are angry?!). Join me this week as we consider three reflection questions related to managing change.
- Am I willing to admit when I struggle with change? And a follow-up question to this is “Who do I need to be open with when I struggle with change?” You may be someone who gets excited about change and tries to create change, so this question may not apply to you. For many of us, change can be difficult and it can be even more difficult to admit that we are struggling with change. If you grew up in the South, there is a common question/answer response that doesn’t allow for much honesty here. Q: “How are you doing? A: “I’m doing well.” This is often the response even if you are not doing well at all! While, you don’t want to share all of your heart and mind with anyone who asks, if we are going to manage change well, we need to have a few people in our lives where we can admit that some of the changes we are experiencing are difficult. Ideally, these are people who also are good at showing empathy (next week’s conversation). When we can admit our struggle with change and even ask for help from trusted colleagues, friends or family members in managing change, we will be better positioned to support our coalitions and teams in managing change as well. Who could be part of your “trusted with change struggle” team?
- What are some ways I can practice being more flexible and able to adapt to change? This doesn’t mean that you don’t acknowledge that the change may be difficult and even unwelcomed, but it does provide an opportunity to practice “little” things that can be really helpful to us as we adapt to change. For instance, if you (like me) struggle when you have set expectations and those change at the last minute, rather than immediately jumping to frustration and blame, try pausing, writing down a few alternatives and seeing if you can make an adjustment. Alternatively, you may want to give yourself more time than you would normally allow for a project or a meeting so that you can build in some “change margin.” When things change unexpectedly, you can be more flexible because you have given yourself a bit more margin to be more flexible. You may also try “reframing” the situation. For instance, Theo Edmonds (a cultural futurist), recently challenged me to change my question from “What’s wrong with you?” To “What happened to you?” This can be even a question that we ask ourselves! Sometimes we can be really hard on ourselves when it comes to managing change (and other things) so this is an opportunity to be more kind to ourselves.
- What are some opportunities that may be possible in the midst of change? Depending upon the change, you may need to grieve what (or who) is lost as a result of the change. In order to begin to see the opportunities, you need to first acknowledge that what changed is difficult for you. There are other situations where you may immediately see opportunities that may end up being a better situation than you originally planned. For instance, I had several in-person consulting/training opportunities this Spring and became concerned that I had “overscheduled” my calendar which would put too much stress on my family. When all of my in-person meetings were canceled, I thought that perhaps I wouldn’t have many opportunities anymore but that I would have time with my family. Amazingly, I ended up having more opportunities for virtual consulting/training and I was able to be home with my family. Even though I miss the in-person connections, I am thankful to continue to get to do some of the work I love to do remotely and care for my family.
So what about you? What are some ways you have practiced being more flexible when adapting to change or perhaps some opportunities you have found possible in the midst of change?
If you missed my Facebook Live on this post, check it out here!