Making change your friend: Managing your career in a changing world
We all know that the pace of change in this world is fast, especially in the workplace. But how are you going to cope with these changes? Will you hide in the corner or will you reach out and embrace change – or even lead it? Here are 9 tips, mostly based on technology guru Scott Steinberg’s book, “Make Change Work For You”, where he teaches you how to future-proof yourself, to remain innovative and succeed in the face of uncertainty.
Keep an eye on the big picture
Don’t just focus on your day-to-day tasks and what’s happening in your office or work area. Take a look at the whole organisation and see what’s going on. Is funding an issue? Are people being let go? If so, in what areas? Look further into the industry you work in and see what is going on: baby boomers are getting older, technology and systems are improving and people are better informed. Assess these trends and changes and think of how they might affect you in the future.
Get involved – talk to others
You’ll stay more informed and up-to-date on changes and be better equipped at assessing changes around the workplace by talking to others. Have discussions with your colleagues and get their take on what is going on. Learn how others are dealing with similar situations and challenges to your own.
Take advantage of opportunities to get involved and stay current. Go to presentations, volunteer on working parties, make an appointment with the movers and shakers – anything to keep you talking and in the loop!
Find out how to be valuable
Do a bit of self-analysis, including your personality and skill sets and compare this to the opportunities and threats that face your workplace. Focusing on your stronger traits, think of how you can strengthen these areas and provide lasting value to your team and to your organisation.
Be open to change and learn how to be efficient with adapting to changes that are presented to you. The sooner you embrace it, the more productive (and comfortable) you will become. Resisting change may result in you being bowled over by it. The choice is largely yours!
Learn to improvise
It’s important to master the art of improvisation when coping with change, as changes are unpredictable. You don’t know when or what type of change you may be faced with. Creating fixed and very inflexible plans may prevent you keeping up with your ever-changing business environment. Learn to be flexible and fluid, ready to move, adapt and learn new things at very short notice.
Changes shouldn’t be perceived as bad; they can often present many positive opportunities. Try to look at change as an opportunity to improve, discover and grow. To convert opportunities into positive outcomes, however, you must be brave. Without bravery – and courage – there is little chance of rising to meet the new challenges.
Don’t be afraid of failure
Unless we live in a bubble, we all experience failure. It’s up to us how we deal with it. Instead of allowing failures to defeat you, learn valuable lessons from your experiences that will help you to make a success of your next project or opportunity. Be prepared to speak about failure too, to help others and to demonstrate how you have learned and developed along the way.
Make fear your friend
Steinberg states, “Picture what you could accomplish if only you could put aside your worries and doubts, make firm decisions, and take smart risks”. He is not suggesting that you completely ignore fear, but instead make it your friend and be clever about how you react to it.
Keep up-to-date with changes in your industry. Don’t lag behind. Keep in touch with colleagues, stay up-to-date with professional associations, read industry journals, attend conferences and subscribe to online newsletters with news and fresh information relevant to your industry. When new ideas or technology become available, try to embrace them instead of shying away. Refuse to be left behind! As business management writer Peter Economy says, “The best way to make change work for you is not to fall victim to it.”