Navigating Change's Choppy Waters | David Couper Consulting

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Navigating Change’s Choppy Waters

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on November 20, 2019 2:46 PM
Navigating Change’s Choppy Waters

I've been meditating on change lately. Organizations we work with are always undergoing a lot of shifts. From people leaving organizations, new bosses coming in and disrupting the status quo, to senior members of staff passing away suddenly, we are always navigating unknown waters.

Change is inevitable. So how do we cope?

 

Change is Constant AND Healthy 

 

When we expect things to happen, we can often be disappointed. Expect the unexpected, not the event usually expected. 

We often don't like change. We especially don't like change when we feel like we are not in control of the change, or it is "done to us."  Accept that change is inevitable.  Start from there.

 

Words Speak Louder Than Actions

 

Senior leaders often do much better with change than frontline staff. Because they drive change, they often unknowingly exclude other employees in the decision-making. Employees are still expected to implement the change. Remember this when you're on either side of adjustments in your office, and increase communication around new implemented structures. 

Most formal change management programs fail. Most organizations fail to take enough time or do a good enough job to communicate about the change, explain why the change needs to happen, gain buy-in, and create collaboration and true partnership.  Communication drives action.  One cannot exist without the other.

 

The Power of Reaction

 

All change comes with positives and negatives, things we gain, and things we lose. Future and past thoughts can speed up or derail the transformation.

It's impossible to manage change, but it is possible to manage our reactions to change. Our responses have the power to inform whether the change succeeds or fails. 

When change occurs, our reaction comes from our thoughts, beliefs, and judgments about the shifts happening. Ultimately, we are also judging ourselves. We need to identify those judgments and heal them through forgiveness if we are going to be able to move forward with a change. 

During changes, we need to be able to anchor to our purpose, who we are, our authentic selves, or spirit. That is the constant, not our thoughts, beliefs, or judgments.

 

Change is Not Transformation

 

Transformation is about connecting with our authentic selves as we work with the new and different things that happen to us. It's about growth and learning. As leaders, we want to transform and help others to transform. They can't change who they are, but the transformation is possible.

 

Be a Guiding Light

 

Transformational Leaders are like lighthouses. They shine a light on the rocks, the lousy weather, and the change in the environment, helping ships navigate safely to shore. Lighthouses are fixed and set in a strong foundation where they can shine a light for the good of all. They don't move around trying to help ships but remain constant. When we connect to our inner wisdom, we are like that lighthouse. Find your purpose, your anchor. Shine your light.

 

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