Thousands of words already have gone in print by different authors echoing their sentiments about ‘Change’ at different levels in human society. ‘Managing Change’ & ‘Managing Organizational Change’ are hot selling works in the corporate sector. Leaders in the organized sector are expected to respond to the changes proactively to keep their organizations intact and profitable. The changes that impact we humans, come along because of environmental changes, economic changes, technology advancement, demographic changes, power struggles and other unexpected disruptions. At times changes are forced on us because of manmade disruptions. Companies are known to create market disruptions to bring change in the consumer behavior and consumption pattern to increase revenue and profits. Disruptions brought about by humans themselves are sometimes good, at times not so good. All these changes at the macro level are handled by the policy makers and the decision makers at a very high level. The overall impact is there for us to see when we as a community become a part of it.
However, the real challenge to us as an individual is when it impacts us at a very personal level. When the change challenges us in terms of our habits, comforts, competency, compatibility, that is the time the question arises “To change or not to change”. We struggle to find answer that suits us and we struggle to justify our acceptance or rejection of it. At times we wait, remain indecisive and the status quo doesn’t help us much. Some of us we take change for granted and live with it without much ado.
In the Indian philosophy of life on earth, the words “Parivartan He Prakruti Ka Niyam Hai” (Change is the rule of nature) are very apt and will remain relevant for eternity. These words invite you to look at change not as a disruption or a challenge but as a part of life that is ongoing and inevitable. It invites you to look at change as a companion of life that needs understanding both at the personal and the professional level. When things are changing around you and challenging you, much will depend on how responsive you are to these changes. It may result in you being a success or a failure during the times. If you start believing in this little philosophy of change you will find acceptance of change and transition to the new scenario fruitful and less stressful to work with.
- Force yourself out of your comforts: Often when things are going well, we become comfortable and get used to the situation. Your mind stops wandering and you stop looking at the outside world. You remain oblivious of the changes around you. You are enjoying the comforts inside your zone. Only when things become uncomfortable within you get your first wakeup call. Your increments or promotions are overdue, on the other hand your colleague has already moved on. Businesses similar to yours are growing but not you. A little analysis will tell you possibly you have not responded to the outside changes, because you remained ensconced in your comforts. You must step out of your comforts to see the changes happening around you and opt for changes you need to bring about with yourself.
- Question your adaptability: Are you scared of change because you are not sure whether you will be able to adapt to a few new gadgets or a new way of functioning? Some people resist change because of this fear. Technologies are changing and changing fast. It is impacting the way we work, the way we operate and the way the systems function. This huge change demands new skills, new competencies. If you avoid recognizing the new skills & competencies required in your profession and keep them at bay, you will become redundant in your own profession. If you are quick to respond to these new requirements you will benefit from the development and subsequent growth that comes your way. Early and quick adaptability to the changes around you is the key to your survival.
- Have a learning attitude: Curiosity to know more, not only in terms of information but knowledge that you would like to use and apply in your day to day life becomes important in this fast changing world. Follow the trends to know which way the wind is blowing. Explore new concepts. Learn how to apply them. You have been doing a certain thing in a certain way but if it is no good today, you need to change. You should be willing to unlearn old ways and learn new ways. Sometimes just unloading your past baggage becomes necessary so that it does not remain a dead weight on your mind that prevents you from welcoming new things, becoming a barrier to new learning. The only things you should not be willing to give up are the principles and the values that guide you and have been time tested by you.
- Have a growth mindset: Making changes or adopting a change for the sake of it is no good. Buying new computer software just because it is offered at a huge discount may not go down well with your staff. But if the same software is helping your staff improve their efficiency or improve your productivity will be good for both. There will be no resistance to this change and the staff will be motivated to perform at a higher level and will serve your organizational purpose.This same principle applies to a change which you think will be good for you personally. Some growth at some personal level anticipated by you will keep you going enthusiastically and help you embrace the change with conviction. However, for this you will have to do some exploring, use your personal experience, connect the dots and get convinced to go for this change with the growth objective in mind.
- Habits that hinder- Change them: Old habits die hard, as they say. Don’t remain a slave to some habits that are not good for you anymore. Habits make you comfortable, and may become counterproductive. Become assertive with yourself. Assertiveness training will help you get rid of unwanted habits bit by bit. Tell someone close to you about the habit you want to change. You need conscious effort to change habits, so take someone’s help. Have a plan, have a target date and get going.
Is this a testing time for you?
If the Corona Virus Pandemic has affected you in some way, it’s time not to lose your confidence or cool but to delve deep into your experience, look around, explore the possibilities and get ready to embrace change. The world is full of possibilities. The internet technology is providing access to information like never before. Using search engines, gathering information, getting the information organized and then getting your thoughts organized is what you need to do. A thorough self analysis in terms of skills & competencies, your priorities and your choices will determine what change you can make over.
If you are the lucky one not affected by the Pandemic and doing well with your existing occupation we recommend you take learning from others and get yourself equipped & get ready for a change. One never knows.