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Managing Change In The Workplace

Aug 17, 2007


The scream of a manager scurrying to cope with yet another organizational, technological, competitive, market, industry, socio-political or other kind of momentous change.

Yep. Managing in today's world is a bit like walking through a field of land-mines -- any moment now another big change is going to erupt and irrevocably alter the landscape.

And you never quite know when or where it's going to explode... or what it's going to do to the environment.

Let's face it...

Whatever tools you're using today... next year they'll be different.

Whatever your customers want today... next year they'll want something different.

Whoever your major competitors are today... next year they'll be different.

Okay, maybe the year after next year.

Or maybe before the year is out!

Whether you like it or not, you will confront change.

But since history shows that those who resist change get left behind, I suggest you start liking it!

You see, although I've painted a negative picture of change -- as a field of land mines -- I really shouldn't have.

Change is good. It's great! If it wasn't for change, we wouldn't enjoy the high living standards we have today, would we?

So why do we sometimes tremble at the thought of change? Fear? Inertia?

It's probably a natural human instinct. But if you do find yourself resisting an impending change -- whether it's a technological advance, new market trend, a corporate restructure, new people to manage, or anything else -- I suggest you identify what's driving your resistance and make an effort to overcome it as soon as possible.

In fact, I urge you to seek out change before it really begins to affect you, your team or your company. That way, you won't be caught off guard... and, in fact, you'll be ahead of the game.

Now, you'll need to use your judgment about which change is worth preparing for -- which technologies are likely to impact on you, which market forces are for real (rather than temporary fads), and which corporate maneuverings will likely affect you and your team.

And you'll need to think carefully about how to respond -- should you rush to seize an opportunity... or move more slowly, to see what unfolds. (It may pay to move slowly. For example, in the mid to late 1990s, many companies, large and small, lost a lot of money in the rush to reinvent themselves for the Internet.)

As a manager, you'll also need to guide your team to accept and embrace change.
Whether it's getting them to use a new software program, to brainstorm solutions to new problems, or to work with new people.

At the end of the day, coping with change is really about how you think about change.

If you focus on what you can gain from the change, rather than what you may lose, you'll see it in a far more positive light and be better able to deal with it.
About the Author
Anna Johnson is the author of the How To Manage People System, including her book, How To Manage People (Even If You're A Control Freak!). Get Anna's FREE 12-page report How To Be An Outstanding Manager - The 8 Vital Keys To Managing People Effectively
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