Change: building resilience

Sometimes change is intentional but often we are unwilling recipients of change, particularly in organisational contexts.  For some, change has negative associations, for others it is the thrill of the challenge and for many it is just to be avoided.

Our response to change is usually different depending on the context and our role in change. We often  hear the phrases ‘dealing with change’ or ‘managing change’ which I feel put us on the back foot and assume that the outcomes of change are beyond our locus of control.  In fact there is so much within our control when it comes to change and I believe it’s important to consider how we lead in times of change so we feel empowered.

We are in control of how we react to change, how we work with others and what we can do if we really don’t like the change.  In order to build resilience consider these questions and tips:

1.Consider your ‘default’ position

By raising your awareness of how you reacted to change in the past, you can preempt how you might react to change in the future and consider how you might want to revise your response to change.

Consider an unexpected change in your life…

  • How did you react to the change?
  • How would an observer have described your reaction?
  • What was positive in your reaction?
  • What was negative in your reaction?
  • How did it feel to go through the change?

2. Reframe your thoughts

When you understand your thought process, you can consciously change how you interpret the facts so that you put a different frame on your situation.

Go back to that unexpected change…

  • What were the opportunities in the change?
  • What did you believe about yourself/ this situation that is influencing your thinking/ your emotions?
  • How can you consider this problem a challenge?
  • If you were looking at the situation from a different perspective, what would you see/ feel?

3. What did you learn?

Take a step back.  It is easier said than done during the process of change but consider what you are learning throughout the process. Ask yourself these questions…

  • What am I learning about myself and my reactions?
  • What are others learning about me?
  • Which of my values am I living?
  • What am I learning about my leadership?

4. Ask for help

If you are finding a period of change difficult, then ask for help. Speak to someone who will listen and support you.

5. Be aware of your influence and control

Don’t wait until a big period of change comes to prepare yourself for change.

Get feedback from others, how do the people around you feel you react to change?

Can you experiment with small changes so that you can test how you flex your resilience to change?

Make a note of what was within your influence and in your control in a previous change, did you maximise opportunities for both?