Monday, June 21, 2010

The Art of Dealing With Change

Change. Sometimes we want it. Sometimes we hate it. Either way, we deal with it or we get ran over by it.

Sometimes we embrace change like we embrace seasons. Some changes we ignore and some we resist. Then there are changes that we lead.
Photo Credit: "Like lightning, but different..." by Evan Leeson

Your job description just changed. Your now work with a new team. Moreover, you would now be based in another state, so you would be changing your address. How would you tell all these to your wife?

Your wife resigned from her job to stay with you. You would have to live on one income for a while. Oh, the kids would have to move to a new local school. How do you explain these to your boy who just met his first girlfriend?

Change, change, change. It doesn't stop.

Prices moved upwards drastically. Your business is new and must keep costs as low as possible. You need to give up some of the perks for a while -- how would you tell that to your employees?

Your restaurant is scheduled to open in two days. All invitations were sent since a month ago. But the local utility still had not brought electricity to your switches. Worse, weather forecast says it would rain in two days.

Change. Can't live smoothly with it. Can't live long without it.

How do we deal with it?

You deal with change in four ways...
  • You ignore change
  • You resist change
  • You flow with change
  • You lead change

Let's examine each one...

You ignore change

People tell you not to ignore change. Really? Of course you can ignore change.

If you're a non-smoker, would you care about changes in the price of cigarettes? Or, if all you watch is baseball, would you care about who the new owner of a basketball team is?

Of course, you can ignore change.

You resist change

Again, people may have told you not to resist change. Oh yeah? There are changes you must resist, because doing so would jeopardize something more essential.

Take for example a suggestion from someone for you to steal money. That's a drastic change in values and ethics, isnt it? You resist it, right?

What if it's about stealing $100 million in cold cash? Would you still resist it? That depends on what your non-negotiables are.

You flow with change

To flow with change is to simply not resist it. You don't get stressed out when change happens. You recognize it when it comes and then you welcome it.

Take for example the change in music at the dance floor, from swing to waltz, while you're holding in your arms your one true love. You flow with the music, wouldn't you?

That's the same thing about fads, fashion and seasons. You welcome each change and dance with it, or fly with it, or drive with it, without any sense of guilt.

You lead change

This is when you become the source of change. How does this happen? I can count a number of ways. But suffice it to say that every person's convicition is a change agent, whether a person admits it or not.

Take for example a little child, with big round eyes, wanting to eat a cookie from a cookie jar he can't open.

That child doesn't ignore the fact that the jar cover is stuck. That child doesn't resist that fact. The child doesn't dance with the cookie jar he can't open.

No, the child, with his big round eyes, leads the change by approaching you for help in opening it.

All four are important, but use each one properly

All four responses are natural and ideal in their respective contexts. They're like the controls of your car that allows you to move forward, stop, reverse or stay in place.

It is when you mix them up when misery starts to build up.

For example, you don't ignore the changes in a person's face while you're talking to him or her. You don't resist your family's expression of love by hugging you even if you're in a hurry.

You don't dance around with a person whose plans undermine everything that is important to you --- your faith, your family, or your finances.

Lastly, you don't lead change that brings about the destruction or humiliation of someone or something that you would deeply regret later.

What changes have you ignored?

What changes have you resisted?

What changes have you flowed along with?

What changes have you led?

What else need to change today?

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