Malaysians once again have had to deal with change with our new government.
New faces are in charge and for sure, new policies will come into play.
At our workplace too, we are all regularly invited to change. But as ever, change is really very difficult even though it is integral part of our life.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” says Steven Hawkings.
We may know this well, but applying it on day to day basis is very hard work.
Change comes in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and under a variety of circumstances. From a workplace stand-point, change is often quite traumatic.
Whether your job has been dis-established, or a competitor has just out-maneuvered you for that position, or the environment has evolved as have the ways you used to do things; your ability to withstand change at the workplace, and to use it to your advantage, will depend on how you choose to recalibrate your thought processes.
As kids, the word “change” is mostly used on us as a form of a caution. My father used to warn me that if I didn’t change my attitude, he’d take some punitive action.
At work, bosses tend to use the word “change” in both explicit and implied terms, as a form of a threat. “If things don’t get better, I am going to make some big changes in our office!”
Perhaps this is why, we avoid change. It’s almost always inconvenient, and difficult.
While there are situations where you have to change because circumstances have changed; like if you face a personal loss, or a health crisis; most workplace changes are necessary because of the lack of results.
It is difficult to embrace change while you get whacked by its effects, but it serves you well to remember that change at work, happens because you are not producing the desired results.
The reality is that change rarely happens when people are happy, and are producing great outcomes.
Through my experiences as a management consultant and leadership coach, I have understood that accepting change is no fun, because everyone likes staying in their comfort zone.
But, it is not a difficult skill to learn. Once you start looking at change as a good thing, you’ll be amazed at some of the benefits that can follow.
Here are some ideas that will help you embrace change at work.
Connect deeply with the notion that change helps you grow. Changes will force you to adapt in ways that you have probably never experienced before. This is a major driver of personal and professional development.
You will find that when you accept that change helps you grow; your opinions and mindset will be challenged. You will realise that you need new ways to articulate who you are, and what you believe in. The idea of repeatedly doing the usual things, will no longer appeal to you. And, you will begin to use different approaches to dealing with your work-life.
Next, embracing change teaches you to be flexible.
Workplace flexibility is about changing or creating modifications in your thought processes to suit the new environment. Creating this personal workplace culture, means that you will be open to new ideas, and you will be able to work independently, or in teams, more effectively.
I can confirm without hesitation that employers are increasingly shifting from single roles to rotating roles, and offering flexible job descriptions. It’s a sought after skill, as it indicates that you can adjust to changing customer needs, and technology trends.
Finally, change offers you tremendous opportunities.
When you alter the way the way you think and work, opportunities will open up. This will have a cascading effect by providing you with more possibilities.
If you are going through a change in circumstance, and you do not waste your time resisting it, you will find that your mind begins to expand in ways that it hadn’t, before. You will be forced to find out about what you can handle, and what you can’t. You will begin to understand your limitations. And this realisation will push you to overcome your limitations.
Learning about yourself, including what you cannot handle, helps you to figure out better ways to manage your work-life. You will become open to the possibility of learning that what you did in the past will not work for your future.
I strongly recommend that you take change into your own hands by embracing it, and understanding how to deal with it, at the work-place. This is best way forward.
In the end, you must want your work-life to produce results that add value to yourself, and to others. This will help you achieve that end.
Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times