Change is constant. We hear, read about, and experience it everyday in our jobs, businesses, career, and personal lives and relationships. Constant changes in business drivers, technology, the economy, health care, social programs, and security (just to name a few, whew!) can make our heads spin! Its rapid pace can be overwhelming, confusing, and downright intimidating. But, the change train won’t be making a complete stop at the station to board us as passengers. Whether we are ready or not, we need to make a leap from the platform to board it. For us baby boomers, remember the 1963 Bob Dylan song, “The Times Are A Changing?” If not, or if you are part of the later or more recent generations, I encourage all of you to read the lyrics…listen to the song as well if you wish :). The rapid pace of change started well over 50 years ago. Bob Dylan saw it and tried to educate us through the pop culture we knew back then… and it hasn’t stopped since. Change affects us all. How we handle it determines whether we survive and be successful.
Often times, when faced with change, we look back to the past. It’s human nature. At times, it’s difficult and complicated. Quite frankly, we struggle, especially if many changes are all occurring at once. We don’t like being taken out of our comfort zone.
When dealing with change, most of us go through a process called the “change curve” before we board the train. The “change curve” has four stages: Information, Support, Direction, and Encouragement.
Looking To The Past…
During the early stages, we are “looking to the past.” As we hear about the upcoming change, we may be in denial. We want to know what’s changing and why, and how will it affect us. So, we start gathering information.
As we learn and the information starts settling in, we may not want to believe in the change, let alone accept it. We grieve and anger may start to set in. So, we start looking for support. <Stage Two>
Looking To The Future…
At some point, we reach a crossroad. Either we don’t accept the change and accept the consequences and move on or we start seeking direction and start “looking to the future.” We start exploring options on how to adapt to the change. So, we start looking for direction. <Stage Three>
Finally, we accept the change and want to learn how to prosper and benefit from it. So, we seek encouragement. <Stage Four>
My Suggestions Beyond The Curve…
So, if you start peeling back the onion, when you, your friends, or colleagues have difficulty dealing with change, try to follow these nine simple points:
– Seek information and learn
– Seek to understand
– Be empathetic
– Seek and provide support and guidance
– Keep an open mind
– Consider all the options and consequences
– Make an informed choice
– Grasp the change
– Prosper and grow
In closing, change is all around us. Sure, it takes us out of our comfort zone some times. The choices we make have impacts on our jobs, businesses, careers, and personal lives and relationships. We may not agree with the changes, but we can choose to stagnate or grow. They are your personal choices and moments of truth. Whether we like it or not, “The Times Are A Changing.”