As we all know, the ever changing landscape of the work environment can cause angst at times. New leaders, an organizational shift or restructure, changing priorities and projects – all of these things can create feelings of uncertainty within the organization. During these times of flux, leaders have the responsibility to ensure that there is crisp, clear, and consistent communication on what’s important, what’s the focus and the roadmap – even if it’s a short term road map.
In my experience, people respond to organizational changes in three distinct ways – they either take action, they react, or they pause. The people that take action are the most agile – they quickly adapt and embrace the change. The action people ask what needs to be done and quickly get into a “move forward” mode.
The reaction people spend a tremendous amount of energy worrying about the change and the impact to them, the organization, and the work they were doing up until the change. This group of folks can spend a great deal of time in turmoil and this is harmful to both their well-being and their brand. There are degrees of reaction people – some process in a few days and are back on course quickly. Others spend forever in the turmoil – seemingly resistant to come out of it.
The final group are the pause people – they wait and neither act nor react. They wait and take a pause in their work until someone gives them new direction. This is the most interesting group, as they seem to manage the change cycle well personally (no stress; no angst) yet they pause professionally – not willing to jump in or, at the very least, continue on the journey they were on prior to the change.
We have all experienced playing any one of the above roles at times during our career. The fast pace of business today requires agility and ability to be in the action space. As leaders, we need to demonstrate the best and most positive approach to action.
Change is not easy – it certainly is not easy when it recurs. Change management is an organizational discipline and a behavioral discipline that can support people and organizations through the ever changing business climate. Leaning into change requires leaning onto one another – as leaders, as colleagues and as friends. As I always say – it takes a village!