Lessons in Leadership: Working With Change

working with changeSales managers who are responsible for coaching and building an elite high-performance sales team face continuous change. Helping your team navigate change is one of the hardest challenges many sales managers experience. This Lesson in Leadership provides direction for working with change management.

Change has always been with us. Since the beginning of time, things have changed. So why does change cause so many problems today?

Emotion is “energy in motion.”

Transitioning through change is an emotional process. Sometimes change invokes strong emotion, and yet, other times it barely registers a thought. Still, the emotions felt because of change are always with us. The intensity of the changes we endure contributes to the negative emotions we feel. Why? Because the more frequent the changes, the more difficult it is to transition through them. When subjected to multiple transitions, people sometimes need help to change effectively.

Intensity of Change ÷ Our Ability to Change = Transition Resources Needed

As with any personal transition, we sometimes need help during times of business change. Most people would offer a friend a helping hand or meaningful advice during a personal crisis without a second thought. Many people seek help from their family and friends when facing difficult changes in their personal lives like the loss of a job, a struggling relationship, financial concerns and investment opportunities. Yet at work, people struggle with change without asking for help from others. And, things can get worse …

Misery loves company

When people feel negatively toward something, it actually hurts. When facing an impending change someone else created, we often experience a multitude of negative emotions. We can feel denial or skepticism. We can feel confusion or withdrawal. When you feel negatively about a change, you shouldn’t search out others who feel the same negativity. And you must not allow yourself to contribute to the negative emotions others might feel when transitioning through change. As managers we are concerned for you. We know how painful some changes can feel at first. And yet, we also know if you bond with others who are also feeling pain, two things can happen.

  1. The pain grows

Emotions are contagious. Haven’t you ever noticed when you feel good other people around you sometimes feel better and when you feel badly others sometimes feel worse? That’s what empathy is. It is understanding what others are feeling and feeling for them or sometimes with them. The difficulty in this case is, if two negative people get together and share their woe, the pain grows and the transition can grind to a complete stop. You might become resistant or even defiant. There’s hardly ever an “upside” for any person in this negative emotional state. Your life on the job becomes more difficult, our lives as managers become more complicated and everyone involved, including other employees, and our customers, may suffer.

  1. The transition slows

If you understand the “Areas of Change” [link to blog post here] and the responsibility we, as managers, have to be aware of these areas, then you will understand we have to do our best to ensure successful transitions in the workplace. We have concern for any employee who sacrifices his best interest to resist inevitable change. We’ve been through it, too. We know how difficult it can be to change when every fiber of your body wants to keep doing things the “old way.” But if we are all to remain in the best position to serve others and ourselves we must change as things around us change. It’s not that we don’t care about you … it’s that we do care!

The improvement of people, plans, and process creates opportunity for all.

As the things around you change, you must also change. If you don’t, you risk becoming stagnant and your opportunities disappear. We have all heard stories about companies that didn’t change well. Many of these companies and their employees suffered significant losses because of the inability to change. Attempting to bold back the waves of change is like attempting to make time stand still. Unfortunately, you either find some way to exploit change or you become engulfed by the new world change has created for you.

Will you go willingly into your new future or will it be thrust upon you? It’s your choice.

When the new future arrives will you have made a happy place for yourself in it, or will you be wondering why life has become so difficult? We want all employees to make their own choices. We always hope you will survive and even thrive in the face of any change. We want to help.

In the next post, we will look at 5 steps to personal transition that will help you make the most of change.

 

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Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net, mrpuen