Organizational change is often disorienting, uncomfortable, and even scary. It’s difficult to keep your footing and contribute high quality work when your company is going through a transitional phase, such as a reorganization or growth. For employees, our Everwise community offered great advice for navigating the rough waters of change:
Begin by understanding the “why” behind the change. Bhanu Singh says you should investigate your organization’s long term strategy to better understand the bigger picture. “Even if it’s vague at the beginning – it will get clear as you start to dig deeper.” If you understand the “why” behind the change, you’re better positioned to become a part of it: “Understanding will help you look for the positive sides of the change and become a change agent, instead of one who is not following the new initiative of the organization.”
Sarah Cocoran agrees and shares another benefit to keeping your eye on the bigger picture. “Do you see the end result of the structure changes? How will this make the company better? It really helps me if there is an end game that I can continue to work towards. Even if the changes are stressful, you can take comfort in knowing that you are making the right calls to further the company’s mission.”
Go With The Flow
As Singh mentions, when you have a good grasp on why the change is happening, you can become one of the people who defines why and how it happens. This requires being flexible, and recognizing that “the only constant is change,” reminds Michael H. Loechel. “Your mindset needs to be one of anticipating and embracing change, and then helping to lead or implement change. If you do this, you will be on the winning side of change almost every time and be looked upon in a positive light by management.”
Rather than resisting change and being seen as an obstacle, try your best to get onboard and offer your expertise to a successful transition. Change is something that will come up time and again in the vast majority of careers, and being flexible will help you get through.
“Even in the midst of change, chances are that the fundamentals of what you need to do don’t change. Stick to the immediate impact while keeping an eye on what’s changing around you.” Joel Shuflin explains that in his experience, sometimes the goals of a project or specific tasks change, but the way to about problem solving can remain fairly constant.
Jesus Olvera adds, “The essence of the business will not change. The goal is to have happy employees who make happy customers who bring financial success to your business.” Renee McCoy agrees, “If what you do is providing value to in the current organization, then it will most likely be valued in the new organization.” Identifying what will remain the same through the change will help bring light to your organization’s values and priorities, making it easier to stay onboard and smoothly navigate through the transition.
Open communication is key through the change. As things evolve, make sure you clearly understand your role and tasks at all times. “Documentation and communication,” are first and foremost for Kristin Clark. “As bosses and projects shift you will have to reevaluate projects frequently to ensure your priorities have not shifted.”
Judy Braun agrees and encourages touching base more often than usual with your manager. “What I have found to be most important is to make sure I’m aligned with my boss about the most important initiatives and objectives to be focused on…If you feel like you’re being pulled in too many different directions, it’s ok to say to your boss, ‘I want to make sure I’m focused on the right things. Can we review our goals to ensure we’re aligned?’ ” Though this may feel frustrating, revisiting priorities every so often is necessary to stay on target, foster accountability, and not waste time down the line.
Look For Opportunities
Even though change is scary, it can reveal opportunities at your organization. Michael King says, “Is there a role in the company that you are interested in having where you can also bring competency and stability? If so, talk with someone about it. Remember, desire and motivation can’t be taught, but most business skills can be. Seizing a new opportunity might be possible and bring back the motivation and focus you had when you first hired on.”
Change can be an opportunity to gain exposure to new ways of doing things, different industries, new colleagues and more. If there is a chance in the upheaval for you to gain some personal development or stand out, go ahead and step up. Chances are, you’ll be valued for your effort and willingness to stick through the change effort with grace.
- Find out the “why” behind the change, and if you can, specific KPIs which might touch your position
- Be open, positive, and flexible
- Understand the factors that are changing and those that are not
- Communicate transparently, especially with your manager
- Think deeply about your goals, priorities, and values
- Chase new opportunities within your organization