Business Solutions: Embrace change, it can bring progress and new opportunities
by DAVE BENAK
American business continues to restructure in the face of
ever-accelerating change. No longer just a force in the business
environment - change is the business environment. People hoping to
get through change and get "back to normal" need to understand that
change is "back to normal."
As Greek philosopher Heraclitus said over 2,500
years ago, "Change is the only constant." It's relentless. There's
no way to stop or avoid it. Change has become a fact of corporate
life - it must be accepted and dealt with. Your best option is to
make change work for you. Learn to not only survive, but to thrive
on constant change.
Change is a good thing. Without it, we could
make no progress. Nor would there be a past. Each new advance in
human knowledge brings change. We have added more to our knowledge
in the past 100 years than in the previous 10,000. As much as 25
percent of our current knowledge will be obsolete in the next
Change is vital to our jobs. Technological,
economic and social changes impact what we do and how we do it.
Companies respond by changing how they operate to meet competition
and the changing needs of customers.
Why do we resist change? There are many
explanations. Mental projections (based on a future of forecast of
stability) are uprooted. There's no control over the circumstances.
The change was shoved down our throats. Change breaks rhythm.
Starting over is a lot of work. There's nothing to hold onto. Change
involves endings - leaving people and places and things behind. An
element of risk is introduced that generates fear.
Change is not a reflection of personal worth.
Corporate level changes are made for many reasons unrelated to an
individual's productivity or talent. Most organizational changes are
caused by circumstances beyond our control: increased competition,
sharp economic swings, government regulations, consumer pressures,
new technology, changing demographics and further globalization of
the marketplace. The best we can hope for is to adapt to the new
environment as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, how do we do
- Anticipate change. You know that change is
inevitable, so be ready at all times. That way, you'll be able to
handle changes as they come. Nothing stays the same forever, so
don't be surprised when it changes.
- Be a positive thinker. Get rid of all negative
thoughts and doubts. Don't focus on the negative aspects of any
change in your life - the resulting insecurities, fears and doubts
will hinder your ability to cope and adapt positively. An optimist
can handle changes much easier.
- Always keep an open mind. Try to see the
benefits and good side of changes. Don't let fear, anxiety, doubts
or irrational thoughts keep you from having an open mind and a
- Keep your thumb on the changes. Change can
come abruptly, but most often occurs over a long period of time.
When it comes suddenly, maintain your perspective and find ways to
adapt to the changes.
- Participate vigorously. Don't just sit there.
Take charge! Work with the changes that happen in an around you -
not against them.
- Learn to adapt to change. Accept it. Then move
on. Change happens for a reason. Remember that any changes occurring
in your life also affect those around you. So don't hinder other
people from moving on by your resistance to change.
- Enjoy life. Strive to enjoy your life and the
things brought about by the changes. Always keep a positive outlook.
C'mon smile. That's better.
- Encourage others. Sometimes the best way to
deal with discomfort from the changes happening in your life is to
forget about yourself and help others deal with and adapt to the
Change is never easy but humans have an enormous
capacity for it. While it's awkward and uncomfortable at first, the
best way to get past the discomfort is to focus on the desire to
change and the willingness to be part of it.
It's only human to feel nostalgic about the old
way of doing things and to literally fear change. We may worry about
someone taking over our job or getting swept aside by a new
organization or procedure. It's normal and natural to feel
threatened or insecure during times of change. But change means
progress and new opportunities that result in job creation,
efficiency and more opportunities for everyone.