Change happens. It’s how you handle it that counts. This – or one of the many variations thereof – is as much a truism of life as it is an opportunity and a challenge. For example, if I was going through change and someone said these words to me then it sounds like someone somewhere felt I wasn’t coping. It would be a verbal nudge in the back (or one of the many variations thereof).
If I was informed I was about to undertake a change, or that change was about to start around me, then those same words would be inspiring and full of opportunity. It would be a verbal round of applause.
Like everyone else, I have had my share of change – at home, at work, in family, in life. Good or bad…big or small…quick or slow…to me or around me (who makes this assessment by the way?). And yet here I am. So at some level I clearly cope. We all do. We all cope. We cope much better than we tend to give ourselves credit for. It is in our nature. It is who we are.
I have thought a lot about change – more specifically change at work. I guess this is because I have had my fair share having been in our amazing industry for a good time. I have been asked for advice, been offered advice and have listened and read and watched.
And what have I concluded? It’s that people are the key. And not just at the obvious level that other people – friends and colleagues and family – help us when change happens. This is an essential and beautiful thing about people we know. They are there for us when we need them.
The other people component of when change happens is that people always leave. We lose people in change. People we know, love, live with, work with or work for. They go away physically or emotionally or both.
When companies change people we will have worked with and enjoy working with – people we know well and who know us – these people will leave or move. And this manifestation of change can often be the most significant and impactful on us.
People we know leave. People we don’t know arrive. Teams and networks and contacts change. Emails are returned undelivered. Internal message networks move to status unknown. We miss people. People who helped us and who did great work for us or with us, and yes sometimes despite us!
And new people join. But we have all been new people who join. And when we arrive we are going through change ourselves. A new starter has left someone else. People and teams who they knew and loved and valued. And now they are with us. Alone. They know no-one; they don’t know who we are or how we work. What we do or how we do it. But new people are with us because of changes that impacted them. Sometimes good changes…sometimes not.
So what do we do? What helps?
Building new relationships. Reaching out and introducing ourselves. Building new networks. Asking questions, investing time. Being present. Work time and social time. Learning, laughing and linking.
New people are always good people who always want to help and enjoy and contribute to success – this is what we were like when we were a new person!
And we learn so much from other people. Their experiences, ideas, beliefs. We lean in…we enjoy.
So we all – always – miss people who leave…people who were part of our lives. But we all – always embrace the new.
It’s how we handle it…