Where’s My Chance to Participate?
Autumn, the season of change has arrived. And with that, a pondering of change, your view of change. What determines your attitude toward change? Beside ease of change, your opinion of change may depend on whether you have control over it, or the degree of participation you have into making that change.
Here’s an example. If you are told that your organization needs to make changes in systems/procedures, and you are given an opportunity to voice your opinion, offer suggestions and input into the timing for the roll-out, you’ll be less hesitant to take the necessary actions. If you are impacted by new software, the chain of command, or a difference in your responsibilities, and you have some locus of control, you will likely feel more safe to embrace the changes regardless of the efforts called for. In contrast, there’s “Simon Says”, when new moves are forced upon you and therefore you have no say or control of their necessity, fine-tuning or roll out; this kind of change feels unsafe, distracting and frustrating because you lack any control over it.
If you’re a professional, you’ve probably experienced “Simon Says” at least once. For instance, earlier in my career as an up-and-coming professional, my employer was acquired. As an employee, I wasn’t brought into the discussion about the sale during the two companies’ initial conversations and negotiations. Instead, employees at my company, weren’t told anything until the deal was finished and until we started receiving directives from people we hadn’t worked with before. I realized from these demands, I would be impacted by new leadership who had not yet earned my trust, subject to adjustments to my incentive package, and a potential layoff because of money and redundancy. Because of the redundancy and the way the acquirer operated, the way I did my job could also be altered. If instead the potential acquisition was discussed with all employees beforehand including: way of working, adjustments to compensation packages and potential lay-offs, and the arrangements were put into a timeline that rolled-out on a reasonable basis, I would have been more ready for the bumpy journey ahead. And, I could have planned so that consequences would have been minimized.
If you looked at this acquisition with the lens of engaging employees and safeguarding future revenue, you would see this big change as a fine-tuning. If you saw the acquisition as a done deal with no employee input or voice, you would most likely view the change negatively.
And, still there is always choice for a third option, taking control of what you can. Whether an upcoming change is handled inclusively where you can exert some control, or exclusively where you have no voice in the matter, you can still choose how you will react. Although I wasn’t happily anticipating what was yet to come with the change in ownership of my organization, I researched, asked questions and made my own plan. Within a few months, I left the firm for another one with a much higher compensation and title. I turned the negative to a positive.
What lens do you use to determine if a change in your world is acceptable or a burden?
Remember the cool dude in the vintage Nissan ad with his great dog: “Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.”
The world right now needs more leaders and the right leaders.
If you are in a position to bring forth good change, encouragement, and growth – you want full access to your potential. Make the choices you need to be the leader that advocates change to look forward to. That change which engages your people, improves productivity and highlights the abilities of your team members.
If you would like to have a conversation on how you can do this, contact me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com