Change is Coming, Like It or Not
3 Minute Read
Change can be a lot of things; exciting, surprising, full of opportunity, but also scary, random, and hard to manage. Some fear it, others thrive on it. So, the question is, why do some succeed in navigating change, while others fall on their faces? The truth is most of us probably fall in both categories. We’ve all navigated change to some extent, we might just not practice the tactics that made us successful. In the workplace, change propels us forward. There isn’t a company, employer, or employee out there that has stood pat while the world changed around them and thrived. True, adapting isn’t always easy… or comfortable for that matter, but it is necessary. So yeah, change can be scary, and we might feel like playing ostrich for a bit is in our best interest, but it’s not. When it comes to change, there’s one ultimate truth; it is inevitable. The sooner we can figure out how to see it coming, navigate through it, and even harness it, the better off we’ll be.
That leads us to the next inevitable question: How do you prepare for change? How do you see it coming and how do you get better at dealing with it? Well, that takes practice, but it starts with understanding the process of change and thinking beyond how it affects just you.
Three main factors will help you in navigating change. 1) Identify the change and prepare for the wave. Change isn’t always obvious, sometimes you have to look for it. Once you find it, be prepared for an initial wave of panic…change doesn’t play by the same rules you’re used to. 2) Be prepared to accept the uncomfortable and adapt. After the initial shock, you’ll need to react. Try to identify why the change is occurring and what the new world is going to look like. There is going to be new opportunity, there always is. 3) Recognize that the change affects more than just you. You cannot just think about what you’re going to do in the oppressive face of change, but how others will react as well. Once you recognize the new set of needs created by the change, you can adapt your services to match.
2021 and all things COVID are a perfect example of how difficult change can be, but also how it opens new doors and delivers new possibilities. Nobody saw the changes coming that COVID brought with it, but some companies were able to pivot faster than others. Brick and Mortar was shut down, restaurants closed their doors, and office buildings looked like ghost towns; change was afoot. While some businesses closed their doors permanently, others found opportunity. So, what was the difference in their success and failure? Some restaurants were able to modify their entire business plans to survive; shifting to carry out and some producing highly sought-after hand sanitizer. They identified change and adjusted quickly. They were able to adapt to the uncomfortable. Short-staffed and navigating a seemingly impossible situation, they found a way to modify their processes. Finally, by providing carry out, they were servicing the portion of their customer base that was also highly affected by the change. They saw beyond their own situation and found a solution to serve a need created by the change.
This may seem like an obvious example because restaurants were up against a wall, they had no choice but to adapt. While that’s true, the same can be said for those of us in the Advertising world. It might not be as obvious but could create just as big of a paradigm shift and just as necessary to adapt. Even pre-COVID, things were changing. The digital environment, how people consume content, how they interact with brands, etc. Change is happening and if you turn a blind eye to it, you may find yourself on the outside looking in.
Ultimately, how well we do with change is how quickly we can accept it. A close friend of mine offered some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and it applies perfectly to navigating change. He said “The only reason we feel pain in this world is because our vision of the future has been changed…the sooner we accept that change as reality the sooner we will feel better.” Of course, he was talking about life changes, but the same holds true in the business world; Change is coming…you better get on board.
…to be continued.