Organizations that do not embrace and manage change in the 21st century’s global economy cannot remain competitive. Most employees, however, are somewhat uncomfortable with change. The future is out of their control. Change involves a loss of comfort and familiarity. It also requires effort to learn and adjust to new ways of doing things, but supervisors can help when dealing with change. Therefore supervisors need to understand factors that drive change, how people react to it, and how you can manage it.
The Nature of Change
First and foremost, change in the workplace is inevitable. The only thing that you can ever be sure of in business is that things will change. That leaves us with only one choice—to accept change and use it to our advantage.
Change is also continual. It goes on all the time, and it will never stop. So when you are in the midst of change, don’t be tempted to think, “If we can just get through this, then everything will go back to normal.” That is not going to happen. Change is a constant presence especially in business. Although change is often difficult, it usually presents opportunities for those who are willing to face and overcome the challenges. For those who manage change with ease, will ultimately prosper. In today’s business climate, being able to manage change is an essential requirement for career success.
Facing Today’s Tough Challenges
To be among the successful, among those who deal effectively with change and take advantage of the opportunities it offers, we must be prepared to face today’s demanding challenges.
- Prepare to change quickly to meet market demands and keep ahead of the competition
- Always be looking for ways to reduce costs and increase profits while improving the quality of goods and services
- Identify ways to expand your customer base while keeping the current customers satisfied and loyal
- Maintain flexibility so that you can act quickly to capitalize on new opportunities
- Continually assess strategies—reviewing where you have been, where you are now, and where you need to go to remain strong, competitive, and profitable
Keeping Up with the Rapid Pace of Change
The pace of change today is so rapid that we cannot afford to become complacent. On the job, we face potential change in many different areas.
- Foremost among them, of course, is technology, which continues to change at a sometimes dizzying pace.
- Staffing levels may also change over time, depending on the state of the economy and our production needs.
- Work relationships change as the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, as people come and go, as new teams appear, and as departments expand or consolidate to meet needs.
- We must keep up with legal requirements and restrictions, making changes in ways we do things to keep our operation in compliance with the laws and regulations that govern our industry.
- At the same time, as changes are taking place on the job, you and your employees may experience significant changes in your own lives, which can add extra stress to the workplace.
What all this means is that to deal successfully with a change, you and your employees need to be resilient.
Resilience is “the property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed.” In terms of workplace change, this means the ability to bounce back from the temporary challenges that change presents. Being resilient does not mean that a person is not dealing with stress from change. That’s as inevitable as change itself. Resilience does, however, mean that a person is not paralyzed by it. Being resilient means being able to cope with change and adapt to it positively so that you can take advantage of the opportunities it presents.