February 1, 2023
Position Yourself for a Career of Adaptive Change
It’s been said that change is the only constant in an organization. While that may be true, today’s workforce has experienced more than its fair share in the wake of the pandemic and economic volatility. New frameworks for dealing with adaptive change are helping employees persevere in what could be the new normal.
Adaptive change, although recently more pervasive, happens all the time as a natural part of meeting consumer needs. Transformational change occurs less often than adaptive change and usually includes a grander scope that reshapes the organization as a whole. Adaptive change refines existing processes, products, and company culture to align with the current marketplace. It happens on a continuum with no set beginning and end point. Companies must evolve to stay competitive and keep pace with the rapidly changing global economy. So, even though employees are exhausted from the recent influx of change, it’s not going away. Here’s how you as an employee can improve not only the way you handle adaptive change but also how to leverage what it has to offer your career.
#1. Rewire your mindset toward adaptive change.
Reframe your concept of adaptive change so you can begin to respond strategically. Adaptive change creates career opportunities. When it happens, you get a chance to demonstrate your ability to grow and thrive in evolution. Managers notice your positive attitude and the way you encourage others on your team. Your ability to learn and perform new tasks increases the overall value you bring to the organization. Testing and implementing a new tool or process causes stress to the system, but so does boredom in your role. When you’re refining what you do at work, you’re introducing variety which can spark new interest, energy, and excitement.
#2. Understand and prepare for each stage of change.
You can reduce your stress around initiating adaptive change if you gain a clear understanding of each stage you as an employee can expect to go through. If you’re prepared to receive information, reframe it internally, and customize the deliverables, then you’ve got yourself a winning process for navigating continuous change. Practise these key steps.
- Pause to acknowledge when a significant change is happening, and the discomfort that comes with it. It’s normal and expected to feel a level of fear upon receiving the next change announcement along with its dates and timelines. Take some time to sit in your discomfort. Write down your feelings, specific concerns, and questions. Give yourself the time to take care of your “big” feelings instead of covering them with immediate action. This helps your mind gain stability and strength to press forward with tact, and a hopeful attitude. Simply acknowledging your reaction helps to calm its effect on your psyche. You can effectively address your concerns and questions about the change at hand when the fear has subsided.
- Invoke your learner’s mindset in which you expect and welcome continuously evolving, especially amid uncertainty. Identify the opportunities that the present change presents as well as the skills you need to utilize for a successful implementation. Imagine what the outcome will look like when you successfully implement the adaptation. Try to look forward to the professional growth that awaits you on the other side of the change.
- Inject your agency into the implementation plan. Managers have a different sightline than their people, which is focused on results. Take ownership of how you’ll address the latest adaptation to gain a sense of control and customization. You can position yourself as a tactical specialist with proactive communication.
- Set a meeting with your manager to discuss how you propose to carry out the change as it impacts your role.
- Be prepared to explain your preferred working style and how you intend to balance the implementation process with your current workload.
- Find out what you can drop to pick up the implementation work.
- Propose changes to the original rollout timeline if it threatens your healthy work experience.
- If you need support in terms of additional training or resources, bring those needs to your manager’s attention.
Managers are inclined to listen and support their people in today’s change-exhausted business climate. Ultimately, if you can show them your clear path to implementation, you can likely customize the path to suit your needs.
#3. Hold to your stress-relieving rituals.
The mind craves continuity as well as variety. However comfortable you might be with change, you can keep your stress down by making sure to include one or more simple rituals in your workday. Doing so adds a tinge of reliability to an otherwise unpredictable day ahead. Studies show rituals have the power to calm the mind even if you don’t believe in them!
Here are a few rituals to spark your ideas.
- Listen to the same playlist or podcast each morning.
- Meditate at the same time each morning, and chant the same mantra.
- Eat the same breakfast at the same time.
- Perform the same stretching routine before bed.
- Read a motivational message or journal at the same time each day.
- Work out or take the dog for a walk.
There will always be changes happening at work as well as in life. These habitual activities can help you check in with yourself and recalibrate for whatever comes your way.
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