I’ve gone through many major changes in my life: marriage; becoming a father (twice); quitting my job and changing careers three months after I got married; and, quitting my job again 2 ½ years later to start my own business. I’ve also experienced all the disruptions and road blocks involved in those kind of changes.
Through it all, one of the things I’ve noticed about change is; whether you like it or not; whether you embrace it or run from it; go with it, lead into it, or get dragged into it kicking and screaming, it’s going to happen anyhow, with you or without you. You see, what I’ve found out is: Change is the only constant. No matter how you react to it, and whether you like it or not, it doesn’t matter: it’s going to happen with you or without you.
However, I think where I learned the most about change and, more importantly how to succeed in a changing environment, is when my family and I packed ourselves up and moved from New York City (where we’d lived our entire lives) and relocated to Chapel Hill, NC in 1997.
The first lesson I learned about succeeding in a changing environment is: You not only have to plan for change, but also plan for what you want to get out of it.
We didn’t just throw a dart into a map and pick Chapel Hill. My wife and I formulated a criteria that described very clearly what we were looking in a place to live for our family. Once we knew what we were looking for, it was easier to find it. When we realized Chapel Hill fit the criteria, we researched the community. We made numerous visits; checked out neighborhoods, schools, banks, sports programs for the kids, traffic to and from the airport, etc.
The day we arrived it felt like we had lived there our whole lives; because we had created our environment, so how could it be bad.
Your company has a plan for any changing environment and they know what they want to get out of it. Do you have your personal plan for how you will succeed in your company’s changing environment and what you want to get out of it?
The other lesson I learned about change is: You have to lead through change. Don’t be afraid to be the first one through. When we moved, we moved to a place where we knew nobody. No friends, no family. But because of the research we did, we knew it would be the kind of place where our kids would have no trouble making friends.
Too many people are only too happy to let others take them through change, or life, for that matter. But when you give up control like that, it’s going to be hard to reap the benefits.
So plan for change with an eye towards what you want out of it and lead through change. Don’t be afraid to meet it head on. Because whether you like it or not; whether you embrace it or run from it; whether you lead into it, get pushed, pulled or dragged into it kicking and screaming, it doesn’t matter. It’s going to happen anyhow; with you or without you. Nothing stays the same, change is the only constant.