Written by Melissa W., Talent Acquisition Manager for Achieve
Change. It’s the one thing we know we can count on, right?
Currently, I’m in a season of experiencing a lot of change both professionally and personally. Don’t get me wrong, some of this change is amazing, but it doesn’t change the fact (no pun intended) that all this change makes me feel out of sorts. Mark Twain said, “I’m in favor of progress; it’s change I don’t like.” I couldn’t agree more, Mark!
I want to be on the other side of this change already. I want to have the clean process, the shiny new system, the amazing relationships, the personal growth, but…don’t touch my schedule or habits or life or anything that disrupts my safe and cozy environment. That’s not how it works though.
So, when I’m faced with something I’m not sure how to approach, I go directly to the experts. Who’s done it already? Who’s done it well? I reached out to a handful of leaders I greatly respect and admire to get their take and share their stories and tips on how they’ve navigated through change.
Consider how the change makes you feel.
Nineveh D., Sr. Manager, Payment Operations
I have been working at Achieve for almost 10 years so it’s safe to say I have experienced a lot of change, ranging from minor process updates to changes that have impacted my life. The first thing I do when change is announced is watch for my initial response. Is it stress, frustration, excitement, fear, confusion, blatant resistance? Once I pin down my initial reaction, I look at what’s going on in my life to see if things are imbalanced. Am I putting enough time into other areas of my life or do things need to shift? If the change has a positive impact, I am grateful and I share that joy with others around me. If it ends up challenging me, then I look for the areas of opportunity that pop up inside of me and I embrace the uncomfortable process of growth. These are my “character developing seasons” where things may not look great on the surface but I gain the most internal development.
Surround yourself with the right people.
Ninja R., Sr. Unit Manager, Sales
Personally and professionally, 2022 has been a year of change, challenges, and overcoming adversity. My tribe and therapy have helped me through all of the lows of the year; while also celebrating me for all that I am. My tribe sees past my imperfections, faults, and quirkiness. They believe in me, sometimes more than I believe in myself. While they’re supporting me, therapy is allowing me to celebrate myself and believe that I can do literally anything that I set my mind to, regardless of the situation.
If you want to thrive through change, look at your values.
Joseph K., VP, Chief Security Officer and Head of Technology Risk Management
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher stated that the only constant in life is change…this is perhaps truer today than it was in the past. With this view in mind, thriving or excelling through change is rooted on values and principles that one espouses, that become magnified during times of change. When we had to move our entire workforce to securely work remotely at the height of Covid, multiple teams rallied to ensure successful business continuity. There were countless meetings and deliberations at many levels that resulted in positive outcomes for our employees, customers, and the business in general. In essence, we all thrived in the unprecedented change moment because we valued collaboration.
It’s okay to not have all the answers.
Sara V., Director, Customer Service
When I first joined Achieve, I had recently left a 22-year career with an employer where I was seen as the expert. In my first days in my new role, I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed as I didn’t fully understand all that we do. I realized I was no longer the expert and felt very uncomfortable not being the go-to person that everyone reached out to for help. I asked myself “How am I going to lead leaders and support them and their teams when I have no idea what we even do?”
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I always pause and take a step back and work on a solution to not feeling that way. I was hired because of my leadership skills and know that leaders don’t always have all the answers. I created a plan to meet with my team to get to know them and their roles in the business. It’s okay to not know everything as long as you’re honest with your team, identify who the “go-to” people are, and just focus on understanding your people and building trust.
When you’re the one making changes, listen.
Symon R., Sr. Director, Customer Service
People always approach change with a “What’s in it for me?” or the WIIFM perspective. We all do it. It is in our nature. Is this new policy going to make my job easier or harder; and if so – why? How are new operating hours going to impact my home life? The list goes on. That is why the most crucial thing to do when changing anything is listening first, listening second, and listening third. Once someone feels truly heard and understood, then they are more open to listening. If someone does not feel heard, then all change is adversarial, buy-in takes much longer, and the overall impact to the experience is not as profound as it could be.
Embracing change is a skill.
Jake F., VP, Legal Partner Networks
I’ve realized throughout my career that if you can not learn to navigate and thrive when presented with change, paralysis will quickly take over your career aspirations.
I’ve learned through my experience that thriving and excelling through change can be an acquired skill through effort and motivation. This skill has proven beneficial throughout my career and led me to achieve the career aspirations I had set for myself over 20 years, sitting in my cubicle admiring those around me.
Break it down.
Beth D., Sr. Director, Settlement Operations
When you’re approached with change, you know you’re almost never going to change back to what was. Breaking it down into smaller pieces can make it feel less intimidating. What parts are making me anxious? If it’s the unknown, ask more questions. Is it a change that is beyond my skill set? Find out where you need to go to learn more so you can prepare.
Face your change head on, but not all of it at one time, just one piece at a time.
Are you going through some change right now? Let me know how you approach change and share your tips on how to navigate in the comments below.