Change, it is happening now or just around the corner. And, the pace of change is not decreasing.
In recent work, I dealt with a client firm undergoing one of the ultimate set pieces of change in the life of a business, the sale of the company. The impending sale sent the predominantly young staff into a frenzy of fear, uncertainty, paranoia, and flight.
One step that proved useful was a series of meetings entitled, “This Will Happen Again” which focused on the facts of business life and how one might react. The initial concept named, “Its Not About You”, speaks to the external forces driving change in the business world. This closes on the simple note that each of us will experience large scale change in work life every couple of years regardless of where we land in the economy. This is now a permanent feature of our work lives.
The meetings then went on to address how people might react to all this change. First, one must acknowledge the change and the accompanying emotional turmoil. Second, change is frequently opportunity dressed in different clothes. Work patterns shift. Reporting relationships change. Fixed methods of work open for examination and improvement in ways that would be surprising under the old regime. Managers who perform well during periods of change shine and are remembered later. All of these and more are reasons for managers to think to their advantage during periods of corporate change.
Finally, these meetings closed on the note that one of the best ways to weather troubled waters to is to refocus on the work at hand, to pay even more attention to making customers happy. A day filled with work is always better than a day occupied with the latest gossip about what might be happening in the executive suite.