The only thing that’s constant is change.
I would attribute that quote to someone, but there seem to be enough variations that it might be hard to pin down who said it first. With all those variations, we may have become numb to the underlying truth of the sentiment. Nothing stays the same, so even those of you who profess to hate change still deal with it on a daily basis.
I loved my last job. I had a supportive team who sincerely wanted me to succeed. I had wonderful clients who were investing in the development of their teams. I had good friends at work who cared about me as a person. And then CHANGE came along. It was all the things CHANGE is known for being — scary, unpredictable, exhilarating, challenging, exhausting. First one change, then another… and another. To make a long story short(er), CHANGE ultimately led me to make a change of my own and leave this job I loved for another.
Fast forward not even six months, and guess who’s been rearing its head at my new job? CHANGE with all its scary, unpredictable challenges. And yet this time, I’m digging in. Why? What’s different about this CHANGE that makes me want to embrace it versus letting it wear me down? In a word… COMMUNICATION.
For fun, I went to the Harvard Business Review site and searched on “the importance of communication during change” and got over 6,300 results. Okay, so this is not a novel concept. Change is an important component in any change management model:
- Lewin’s Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze
- ADKAR — Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement
- Kotter’s 8-Step Model
- Kubler-Ross Stages of Change
And yet, it seems organizations often skip over this step. Maybe management doesn’t know the answers to the questions people are asking, or worse, they know the answers and know their teams won’t like them. Maybe they think people already understand why the change in happening. Or maybe they are too busy doing the change to talk about it. Unfortunately, as I can attest to first-hand, when there is no communication, two things are likely to happen:
- The effects of the change are magnified, and
- People will begin to craft their own narrative about why the change is happening.
What’s different about the change in my new job is that I am kept in the loop about what is changing and why. And if my leaders don’t have answers yet, that’s also being communicated. I feel more prepared to weather this change, and I understand where we’re going with it. That makes all the difference.
So my title of Change Revisited has two meanings. Not only is change revisiting me in my new role, but I am also revisiting my thoughts about change in my blog. Oddly enough, it was five years ago almost to the day that I posted a blog entitled Often unpredictable, absolutely unrelenting, and more often than not, terribly unforgiving. This description of change is still one of my favorites, as is another quote I used in that post… one that I often remind myself of when I’m faced with change.