Change is happening all around us all the time. It’s simple and it’s complex. It’s deliberate and it’s unforeseen. Mention the word “change,” and most people scurry to avoid the topic or action. So, I’ve been feeling like a new narrative needs to be created around the topic of change—one that makes change easier and happier for business leaders to navigate, as it is something organizations can absolutely count on happening.
I’ve written two books on the topic of change and created 10 points of change that I use in my own life and in my practice as a master life coach. I’ve guided clients worldwide through change, and over the years, I have found the following eight tips are key to helping leaders better navigate change.
1. Shift how you think about change.
What’s your attitude toward change? Does change scare you, or do you welcome it? I’d like to see change become a happier experience for leaders to manage and for people to move from fear to confidence. As I said, change is happening all around us all the time, so it’s to your advantage to know how to navigate it to the best of your abilities.
Everyone is so different, yet so alike when facing changes. Think about how you view change, whether you’re navigating smaller changes like rearranging the furniture or more complicated changes like getting a new job. (I haven’t even mentioned any changes you don’t see headed your way.) It might very well depend on your situation or circumstance, but generally, I find people have either an open perspective or a closed one when it comes to change with little middle ground.
To shift how you view change, think with your heart. So very often, I find that leaders overthink it and would be better served with a shift into a more heart-based approach. Follow your personal values and listen to that inner voice. If you are serious about making change, be true to your values, confront your recurring thoughts about your business or industry norms, and seek ways to challenge that orthodoxy to look at your business in a fresh, new way.
2. Spend your time wisely.
Time is not a renewable resource. Once the moment happens, it is gone and you don’t get it back. How you spend your time and energy matters, especially when you’re navigating a change. Every nanosecond counts. Align your energy so your time is spent with awareness. You can do this by setting time-management goals. This can help you allocate more energy to more efficient and focused decisions.
3. Ask yourself, ‘Are you stuck?’
You know it when you are stuck: You or your business just aren’t making forward progress, and, well, you aren’t going in reverse either. You need to recognize when you’re stuck because being stuck means no growth, and no growth means stagnation. Businesses and people need to grow, so challenge the status quo. A business can be leapfrogged by its competitors when new or fresh ideas are not developed.
4. Break down large changes into smaller, more approachable ones.
Maybe you do need a major change, but you’re not sure where to begin. More often than not, you can make a series of small changes or even stack them to have results. Small changes often have ripple effects. I’ve worked with many clients in the area of weight reduction, for example. As we begin our work together, we make one or two small changes that often have great results and move them toward their overall goal.
5. Embrace the area outside of your comfort zone.
One of the reasons why people resist change is because, much of the time, they are unsure or even fearful of what will happen as a result of the change. It’s like getting up on stage in front of 10,000 people and not preparing what you are going to say. The more you know about how to navigate change, the better.
Embrace change at every turn, and break habits and industry expectations. When you are outside your comfort zone, you are inside your dream and growth zones. The essence of growth is to move beyond your comfort zone. An effective leader also helps others move out of their comfort zones, which further stimulates growth for all involved.
6. Recognize your own power.
Can one person really make an impactful change? I believe the answer is yes. If you feel like you don’t have the power to make changes that will make the type of progress you’d like to see in your workplace or community, remember, again, it starts with you.
7. View change as an opportunity.
Many people associate change with taking something away. But I believe you have to lose something in order to gain something else. For example, I worked with one client who wanted to change jobs and was afraid of losing seniority and a host of things that go along with being at a job for more than 15 years. Despite her concerns, she began her search, and she is now employed with a new company that offers a better income and better benefits. She also shortened her commute by more than 30 minutes each day.
8. Be authentic when making a change.
How do you know you are making the right change? I believe it is important to think with your heart, be authentic and understand that you go where you place your energy. It’s important to align your heart, truths and energy to find success in all areas of your life. Allow gratitude and your most positive, peaceful self to guide you.
Leaders can navigate change—and help their teams do the same—by having a clear vision for the company’s change goals, investing in their people, seeking their input on how to achieve them with confidence and assuring the team that greater growth both for the company and themselves lies ahead.