By Sara Jane Radin
Sara Jane Radin is an Executive Leadership Coach helping leaders get to their next level of effectiveness. She spoke about change at PSGCNJ in July. Below is an overview of the most relevant points in her presentation.
There are two kinds of change -planned and unexpected. Either kind can be positive or negative. Any change, however, causes us to stop and consider what we’ve been taking for granted, and also causes us to assess what has happened, where we are now, where we want to go, and how to get there.
Change often appears to us as an event (such as being down-sized from a company). Change, however, is really about the process of going from one situation (A) (no job) to another situation (B) (another job or income producing position). Therefore, the challenge of change is not the event itself but rather the process of going from point A to point B. point B.
While we are not in control of all events that come our way, we are in control of how we respond to them and what we do about them. So, it’s not what happens to us – but rather what we do about it that makes the change situation an obstacle or an opportunity.
Some of us are faster to approach and embrace change than others. Our change style is a combination of how we are hardwired and also our past (often early) experiences with change. It’s important to know our change style so we can know when we can respond in our natural style and when we need to be focused on flexing our style to be more effective.
For example, those who respond to change slowly may lose out because they delay taking any action – so they need to be alert to when they would benefit by emerging from their comfort zone, specifying time frames, and taking action faster. Those who respond to change in a pragmatic way may not have their own needs met because they try to please too many people – so they might do well to focus on the consequences of various alternatives and then take appropriate action. Finally, those who respond quickly to change may miss fully capitalizing on opportunities because they overextend themselves – so, generally, they would find it helpful to have a governor to slow them down and also prioritize options so that they can adjust their action to the reality of the situation.
Being flexible and resilient are essential skills for responding to change – especially when the change is unexpected and also negative. Having the internal capacity to rapidly recover from adversity gives you a competitive advantage to profit from change. This capacity requires focusing on letting go of habitual patterns that don’t serve you well, picking up being curious, and focusing on the future. The faster you let go and pick up, the more rapidly you’ll transition through the change process and achieve your goal!
When you take charge of your response to change, you are demonstrating your inner confidence, strengthening your (outer) credibility, and shaping your success. Remember Charles Darwin said: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change”.
Sara can be contacted at 201-224-8848 or via email at SaraJane@PerformanceAdvantageSystems.com