Is All Change Good?

My client complained that her department was being reorganized “for the hundredth time”.  The call center she managed was being converted to an email and chat response center instead of a telephone call center.  She was sure customers would be dissatisfied when they found that they could not get their technical questions answered by phone any more. In fact she was so upset she admitted to me she was dragging her heels with respect to the change.

How do you adapt to change?  Do you embrace change, welcome it and easily adapt?    Are you “flexible”?  That seems to be the code word companies use to mean that you can “turn on a dime.”   Are you really that flexible?

What if you find yourself in a situation where the change seems to you to head your company in the wrong direction?  My client felt this way. Some companies allow discussion around the pending change.  An enlightened company would in fact value the input of its employees and might adjust its plans based on some of the input.

My client’s experience however was with a very different kind of company.  When she argued against the change, she was quickly squelched and told that it was clear that she just “didn’t get it”.

There are some people who thrive on a changing environment.  They love to try new things.  To them new is good and energizing.  They become impatient with those who need to be convinced that the change is a good one. Other people like to have things predictable day after day and change seems threatening. They feel rushed and pressured when someone wants to change what they have always done.

Neither behavior type is better than the other. We need to have both.  Those who enjoy change help us to move to better ways of doing things.  Those who resist change can help us to choose only the changes that make sense and are truly “a step in the right direction”.

Perhaps it is because there are more resisters than changers that I get the impression that companies constantly advocate change and are critical of the resisters. To create a positive work environment where everyone feels heard changers need to help resisters see the benefits of change before the changes are made.  Everyone needs to listen to the other side before decisions are made.

In the end my client had to decide if this change was one to which she could adjust and then help implement or if the change was a reason to find another job that did not compromise her integrity.

That is a difficult decision and one often faced by people in companies today.  The choice is to do something they do not feel good about or to give up a good job where they make a good salary.  Not an easy decision!

Many choose to go along with the change and ignore their discomfort. That may work for a while but eventually the irritation comes out in subtle and not so subtle ways.  It might even begin to affect your health.

When the change produces feelings that are too intolerable, there is no way the person can stay.  In times when companies have difficulty finding and keeping good people good leaders allow people to question the change and help them to understand the reasons for it.

Those that are leading a change and those who are resisting a change can benefit from working with a coach so that they understand their own feelings and beliefs and then can find a workable plan to guide them successfully through the transition.  I coach managers, leaders and employees who are working in a changing and unstable environment.  Clients tell me it is very helpful to have someone with no agenda except their success to talk to.

Take Action:

1.   Identify the change going on in your life right now.  (Changes come in all parts of your life not just at work.)

2.   Write down on a piece of paper what is good about the change.

3.   Write down on a piece of paper what is bad about the change.

4.   Ask yourself if you adapted to the change would you still feel good about yourself and/or your job?

5.   Decide whether to take action to shift from opposing the change to embracing it or to find a way to remove yourself from the situation.




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