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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Part 1 - Managing Through Change - How to Survive!

I think we can all admit that the only thing that is constant is change.  The reason we are on projects is because something needs to change.  However, through change there are a lot of emotions that occur.  So the question is how do you manage through that?  Here are some best practices I have learned over the years.


  • Communication - communication is key. The communication needs to be honest, direct and frequent.  People take change differently so be aware that there will be resistance, acceptance, shock, concern and many more reactions.  Be aware of that, and take that into consideration with your communication style.
  • Empathy and Sympathy - it's not just about making the changes, but understanding how those changes will make individuals feel.  Think about a time when something changed in your life, how did you react to it?  How did it make you feel?  If you were ever laid off how did that make you feel? Some of these same emotions may be felt by those on your team. 
  • Be Available - during change it's important that you don't stay in your office.  People are uneasy and unsure.  They may not understand why the change is needed.  It's important you are visible and willing to answer any questions that may posed to you, even if you don't have the answer.  Saying something is better than not saying anything. Being visible is better than not being visible at all. 
  • Perspective - don't forget to keep everything in perspective.  You are dealing with people whose jobs may be impacted, whose roles may change.  Keep that in mind as you communicate and interact with individuals.  This can be a very sensitive time for individuals.  Remember you are human just like they are.
  • Don't Lie - if you don't know an answer to a question, or if decisions are still being made on certain topics, don't make stuff up when you are talking to your team.  Team members can tell when you are lying to them or making things up.  You need to keep trust during this time not lose it.  Trust is hard to gain, but very easy to lose. 
  • Motivation, Engagement & Taking Care of Yourself - keeping the team motivated and engaged during a world of change can be extremely hard.  The team will feed off of your vibe, so watch your vibe, and ensure you have an outlet to vent or discuss any concerns you have.  The team is going to heavily rely on you as a manager to provide guidance and security.  So you need to ensure you are taking care of yourself as you take care of the them.

Team Members

  • Honesty - be honest on how you feel.  If you are angry, confused or have some other type of emotion communicate that to your manager.  You manager is there to help you through the change.  Be open and honest with them about your concerns.
  • Communication - ask questions when you are feeling uneasy.  Don't break down in communication.  There is no stupid question, especially during change.  So ask away.
  • Keep an Open Mind - change will happen whether you like it not.  Make sure you understand the change and WHY the change is occurring.  Most changes make sense (I didn't say all but most :-)).  So keep an open mind and look for how the change may provide you better opportunities or make your work life easier.  
  • Don't Overreact - don't make swift decisions, or jump ship. You never know what the change will provide as opportunities. Think very strategically and understand the change before you start making movements. 
  • Stay Engaged and Motivated - I know this can be hard, but your attitude can really show leadership the type of team member you are.  You never know, your attitude might open up more opportunities for you.

These are just a couple of tidbits I've picked up along the way I wanted to share.  Change is difficult, but not changing is fatal.  Change is constant so it's going to happen, and most of the time out of your control.  Try to embrace change, you never know where the change will lead you.


BA Martial Artist

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