I like to think that I am a highly adaptable person. But, I was not always this way. When I was a newly promoted manager, I challenged every change suggested by the executive team. I felt like (a) I could do it better and (b) they were disconnected from what was happening in the day-to-day operations. Later, I found my lack of adaptability to be a road block when it came to a promotion and I had to make a fundamental change in my approach.
Today, we know that how well individuals handle the process of change and transition can determine how far they advance in an organization. Unfortunately, I am not the only person who has ever resisted change. It is one of the biggest challenges people face today. Why? Is it because one of the oldest and strongest kinds of fear is the fear of the unknown? While this might be the case in today’s business environment, change is inevitable. The good news is that you can build up your ability to process change effectively and make yourself “change saturation resistant.”
Here are 8 “Be-attitudes” to increase your adaptability:
- Be adventurous and try something new each day. One reason people fear change is because they are not exposed to it often enough. Build up your adaptability muscle be making a conscious decision to try one new thing each day.
- Be an initiator of change practicing constructive dissatisfaction. Comfort zones are the kryptonite of adaptability. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo but instead take the time to look at things from the prospective of “what could be done better.” Make sure you are approaching it from a constructive viewpoint with possible suggestions/changes to make it better.
- Be flexible and embrace change with positive thoughts. When people hear that a change is going to happen they typically think of how it might make their job more difficult or everything “bad” that may happen because of it. Instead practice thinking of the positives. Write out the top three things that the change will do to help you, your family, and/or your organization.
- Be a visionary that looks at the big picture. People today are often disconnected to the bigger picture and only look at how change will affect them. Make sure you are looking at how changes are connected to the vision of your organization.
- Be a strong communicator. One of the biggest weapons against negative attitudes when it comes to change is open and honest communication. Make sure that the communication flow is allowing for a transparent environment when change is occurring. This will ensure that everyone knows what is happening and issues can be addressed promptly.
- Be open to advice and support. Seek out feedback for growth on a regular basis. Look for trusted people or a mentor that will give you honest (blunt) feedback. Incorporate it as often as possible.
- Be a person that celebrates victories. When we are going through change, we have a learning curve to develop a proficiency in whatever new process, procedure, or task that we are undertaking. Take the time to celebrate when you acquire new skills. Celebrating the victories reminds you that you are growing and increases your confidence in your ability to adapt to new challenges.
- Be diligent with a healthy lifestyle. This is important for handling stress. Practice work-life balance. Making sure you get plenty of rest, exercise and a healthy diet can increase both your physical and mental ability to adapt and handle any stress caused by change.
Change can be frightening. However, by incorporating the “Be-Attitudes” into your life, you’ll become more adaptable and thrive in any change.
By Steve VerBurg
Dale Carnegie of Orange County