If there is one thing we can guarantee in life, it is change.
Change surrounds us. Every single one of us will experience some form of change on a daily or weekly basis. Some changes are imposed, some instigated by others and some change we choose to instigate ourselves. So, if change is all around us, all of the time, why then are so many people so fearful of it?
People fear change mostly because of the unknown; a new job, a new boss, new colleagues, a new place to work all result in us doing or feeling something different to ‘the norm’. This may make us feel uncertain, nervous or apprehensive but how long do these feelings really last? More than likely, we spend more time worrying about the change happening than the length of time it takes to adapt to the change. Before we know it, the change itself becomes ‘the norm’.
For many of us, we are active in creating change in our personal lives, making life-changing decisions such as moving home, getting married and having children so why do we struggle with less significant changes in the workplace?
In our personal lives, we focus on the benefits of change and see the opportunities change presents. In the workplace, however, our instinct is to question and challenge. So why apply a different attitude?
More than likely, because changes in the workplace are often driven by external factors such as technology, regulation and consumer needs or demands, things that most of us cannot control. With that in mind, how then do we prepare ourselves for the biggest external change in recent times - Brexit?
Personally, we can accept that a change is inevitable, that in itself, is part of the preparation. In work, we need to also accept that things will change; instead of being fearful, however, we could adopt the attitude we have towards change in our personal lives and focus on the benefits and opportunities – there will be some!
If only adapting to workplace change was as easy as changing a mind-set. The reality of course, is that we need to implement practical solutions; we need time to fully understand the impact of changes and time to create and implement appropriate solutions to prepare for, and enable, a transition to the new state. In many organisations, these considerations are undoubtedly underway.
Returning to a focus on benefits, we need to remind ourselves that we are already experts in adapting to change, we do it on a daily basis. Change opportunities provided in our workplace ultimately impact on our personal lives; we grow and develop as we enhance knowledge and develop new skills, presenting opportunity for promotion, resulting in increased confidence, motivation and income.
So the next time we are faced with an imposed workplace change, instead of fearing the change, perhaps the first thought that should cross our minds is ‘what opportunities does this present?’.