BECOMING POSITIVE AGENTS OF CHANGE
Change can be hard (right?)….and Weifield is undergoing several major changes in an attempt to become better as a company. These changes include transitioning team members into new roles such as Construction Executive, GM, General Superintendent, etc., implementing the new EOS system, incorporating company and individual Rocks into our quarterly and annual strategies, establishing new company systems such as ERP and CRM, and much more.
These changes – because they are happening simultaneously – can seem daunting…and to be honest, I can get a little overwhelmed with them, myself. However, the logic behind these changes is sound and whenever I feel anxious about them, I remember to keep my ‘eyes on the prize’ and the overall vision – which is to build upon the great things we’ve done to make our company even better than it was, before– and to grow our organization into a national leader in electrical construction.
Growth always brings associated growing pains. But to achieve our goals and grow into the company we want to be, it’s imperative that we learn to become positive ‘agents of change’ and navigate around the typical change management hurdles and mental roadblocks that some companies get perpetually stuck on.
Barrier to Change: Neuroscience research confirms the belief that “we are creatures of habit” to be very true. We like certainty – because certainty brings clarity and predictability. Uncertainty often registers as an error, gap, or tension in the brain: something that must be corrected before one can feel comfortable again. That is why people crave certainty.
Strategies for Adapting Well to Change: However, no growth can happen without change – certainty also brings with it stagnancy, the same results, and a lack of motivation to go beyond our limits to see what is possible.
Therefore – it is imperative that all of us learn to challenge ourselves to learn new tools and strategies that allow us to adapt more quickly. The following are some strategies to do just that from a recent Harvard Business Review article, “How to Get Better at Dealing with Change”:
1. Adopt a growth mindset: A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static given when we can’t change in any meaningful way, yet a “growth mindset,” thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. A growth mindset is needed to navigate hurdles effectively and foster the belief that your abilities can carry you through.
2. Talk about problems more than feelings: One of the most common myths of coping with unwanted changes is the idea that we can “work through” our anger, fears, and frustrations by talking about them a lot. But in
fact, research shows that actively and repeatedly broadcasting negative emotions hinders our natural adaptation processes. Instead, discuss problems and potential solutions, instead.
3. Reframe Stress: When you start to feel stressed, ask yourself what your stress is trying to help you accomplish. Is stress trying to help you excel at an important task, like a sales presentation or a big interview? Is it trying to help you empathize with a colleague or a customer? Reframing helps you realize that stress may just be a way of helping you to solve an issue.
4. Don’t expect stability: In the late 1970s a researcher at the University of Chicago began studying employees at Illinois Bell. Soon after, the phone industry was deregulated, and the company had to undergo a lot of changes. Some managers had trouble coping. Others thrived. What separated the two groups? The adaptive leaders chose to view all changes, whether wanted or unwanted, as an expected part of the human experience,
rather than as a tragic anomaly that victimizes unlucky people. Instead of feeling personally attacked by ignorant leaders, evil lawmakers, or an unfair universe, they remained engaged in their work and spotted opportunities
to fix long-standing problems with customer service and to tweak antiquated pricing structures.
The long and short of it is – the only way to successfully adapt to change is to work to understand and embrace it. Change brings great opportunity, and I’m so excited to see the new hills we will conquer, together! Until next time.
Founder & Chief Business Development Officer