How to Manage Change Effectively
Firstly, Why Must We ‘Manage Change?’
The need for skills in managing change is nothing new. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher was quoted as saying, sometime around 500 years BCE, that:
“Change is the only constant in life”
Today, we live in a world where change appears to be happening more rapidly than ever before, and for a lot of people that can make them feel overwhelmed or that they are being left behind or made to feel simply ‘not good enough’.
I have a theory that 'If you’re not moving forwards, you’re actually slipping backwards’, because the rest of the world, especially in business, is still making progress in some way.
My mother, Vera Inman passed away in 2019, aged 100 years and one month. In her lifetime she saw us progress from listening to the wireless and hand-writing letters, to portable radios, then black and white TV’s, cassette players, telephones and answering machines, faxes, cine cameras, VCR’s, CD’s and DVD’s, i-Pods, the internet, cable TV and emails.
Nowadays, our smart phones have become hand-held computers, that are also cameras, alarm clocks, entertainment devices and mobile offices!
Have you ever had the experience of being stuck on a technology problem, only to find that a child can easily solve it for you?!!
Is it any wonder that we can sometimes feel like we’re just not keeping up?!!
Don’t worry though – I do have some solutions for you that I will explain as we go…
Next, Define Your Philosophies and Master Your Coping Capability
If we ever needed a great example of the impact of external change, we have been given a ‘doozy’ with the Covid-19 Coronavirus and the way that the whole world has been forced to do its best to cope.
Do not forget though that we all must cope with change daily – like Heraclitus said – ‘Constantly’.
We change from babies to toddlers, to schoolchildren, to teenagers to working, responsible adults to fun-loving retirees, to old folk. I am sure you can add a few more levels in between. We change jobs, careers, partners and body shapes and we cope with changes all around us in relationships, locations, circumstances and dealing with rules and regulations.
How we cope depends a lot on our philosophy. Those who cope better, form the belief that no matter what happens to them (from external causes), that they may not be able to control, but that they CAN always choose how they internalise that situation and choose how they will respond to it.
Those who don’t cope so well see the world as being in control and that they are just passengers on the change train, heading for ‘destination unknown’. That feeling that your life is out of your control can cause all kinds of problems for people, from simple unhappiness to anxiety, depression and in extreme cases, even suicide.
We are seeing a lot more people in today’s society struggling with these issues, and to try to cope they often turn to alcohol, drugs, crime and a host of escapist responses which can often be anti-social or harmful to themselves or others.
So, how do we master the skills required to cope with change?
Well, I help people to understand themselves first, to evaluate what is really happening for them and to gain clarity about what they really want instead. I do this either through one-to-one coaching, working in a group, such as at one of my workshops, or via my online course (coming shortly).
Learn to Think More Strategically
One of the most important elements of managing change is to develop the skill of thinking more strategically.
That involves firstly being honest with yourself about your present situation; taking responsibility for the decisions you made that led you to this point; acknowledging that you have the power to change it; defining what you want and articulating that; devising a workable plan to bring about the change you want; identifying the obstacles that have so far prevented you from doing this; listing the resources that you will need to make it happen; taking action to work on your plan; and monitoring your results and adjusting your tactics as required.
Set Objectives and Achieve Goals
Another vital element in managing change is the ability to set objectives – statements of intent about what you will do in each area to achieve your desired outcomes.
The next crucial skill is to learn how to set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable; Achievable; Realistic and Time-framed. It may sound easy, but it is harder than people often realise, which is a big part of why a lot of people’s New Year’s Resolutions fail before the end of January.
Learn Strategies to Overcome Fears, Step Outside Your Comfort Zones & Live Your Life by Design
A frequent cause of failing to manage change is that we allow the entrenched behavioural patterns in our minds to remind us of our ‘perceived’ limitations, our earlier setbacks, often from as far back as our childhoods and they keep us stuck.
We often have a sense of what we ought to do, but we don’t believe that we can do it, so we stay, stuck in our comfort zones of despair and reinforce the belief that perhaps we’re not as good as that person doing it, or that we’re just not good enough.
I help my clients to discover these false obstacles and to break free from the shackles of their own limiting beliefs. It helps to have someone in your corner – a sounding board to challenge your thinking and your assumptions and someone on your side who will hold you accountable to do what you say you are going to.
I get a real buzz out of helping my clients to discover their true potential and I give them tools and techniques to empower them to live a life by design.
If this sounds like something that appeals to you – to move away from what you don’t want, and towards what you do want, then I invite you to contact me for a no-obligation chat via this site, or to subscribe to my blog, attend a workshop or a webinar or buy my book, ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well.’ I will also soon have an online course available to work through at your leisure.
I will leave you with an important thought:
‘For things to change, you must change’.
Let us see if I can help you to manage change, like my other clients have, and to design your ideal life.