A Manager’s Anchor in a Change Management Storm
Change management is a frightening concept for most managers. There are various reasons why, but the one I sense the most often is this: managers and leaders alike, tend to think that change is only encouraged or initiated when something is wrong. And obviously, whenever we associate something as the adverse alternative of two options – stability (good)/change (bad) – we are going to prefer the former to the latter. It’s human nature. And with that, it’s no wonder so many professionals pity the process of change – they think it’s a bad thing because it’s associated with negative meanings.
And I won’t sugarcoat, sometimes change is necessary because things aren’t working and things have gone wrong – but that doesn’t mean change has to be bad. In fact, change should be considered the savior of it all, a hopeful possibility if anything. It’s the one thing that’s in our control when all else has gone awry. This is where you (the manager and/or leader) come into the picture.
I like to think of your role as the anchor to an unstable ship. Regardless of the reason (problems or innovation) change is happening in your team, organization or process, change inevitably alters something. By its very nature, change is variable. And we all know that when things are out of routine and unfamiliar, security comes from stability – and this is the anchor’s role when the ship’s lost its stillness. So, what does all of that mean for you-the manager?
#1. Your attitude has the ability to alter things (negatively or positively). While change is being driven, are you the calm for the storm or the eye of the storm? Be aware of the power of your presence.
#2. Your actions affect the ship (your team) and the storm during any change management process. What you do and how you address the need for change will either define the direction your team needs to go or leave them lost at sea hopeless and astray. Do everyone a favor and don’t drift aimlessly – give your team what they need to sail through the storm successfully.
#3. Your perspective and that of others shapes the experience of change and the change management. While you’re all in process of driving this change (amidst the storm), are you taking the time to draw their attention to the things that matter? Are you paying attention to other and listening to them. In other words, are you stopping to soak in the scenery that makes the journey worthwhile? Or are you rushing to reach the end, ignorant of the lessons and experiences you could have captured along the way?
Now, I’ll ask you: When the change-management storm roars your team’s way, what role do you want to play? Hopefully, after some time and reflection, you choose to be the anchor amidst the storm.
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