Entropy, in the scientific sense, is the postulation that the universe tends towards disorganization. As the saying goes, the only constant is change. So what does this mean for you? It means that your department may get reorganized, your job functions may be altered, and coworkers will come and go.
Throughout all these changes in your life, you are the only constant. And the only thing you can control is how you react and adapt to those changes.
If you are responsible for a team or in charge of the rollout of a new application or service, you have the additional responsibility of making adaptation as easy as possible for those under your guidance.
Change management is the discipline surrounding how people deal with change. On the GovLoop training, Agility and Flexibility: Change Management Frameworks You Need to Know, change management experts Leslie Ann Pearson and Neeraj Gupta shared their tips for dealing with change at work. Take a look, and think about how you can apply them to your own situation.
- Use a common vernacular
As Gupta put it, by building a common language around change management, you can help promote adaptation within your team. This means that everyone will be on the same page: when you say something, everyone will know exactly what you mean by it. Clear communication is key when dealing with the uncertainty of change, and ensuring that your team understands exactly what is going on helps ease the transition.
- Enhance change “readiness” by involving stakeholders
Make sure people understand why change is coming, how it’s happening and what the change will do. While you may not be able to control the actual change that is happening, you can make the process simpler by ensuring that everyone involved is prepped and prepared. People who are involved in the process are also more likely to understand the benefits of the change and the intention behind it, building a culture that is receptive to change.
- Build change into your processes
As Gupta put it, people usually understand the importance of change management but don’t know how to get started on it. While there is no “right way,” having processes that are geared towards accepting or implementing change is a good place to start. And don’t wait to announce changes until you’ve got it perfect, says Pearson—think about what you can share with stakeholders in the leadup to a change being implemented, and share it. Building agile processes and frameworks in this way will lessen the stress when change occurs, whether it is expected or unexpected.
- Don’t underestimate the power of communication with your project team & stakeholders
“The way people consume information, they need to hear it a number of times for it to sink in,” Pearson said. This means that the more you communicate with your team, the easier it will be for them to adapt to change. She also highlights the importance of a regular cadence when it comes to new initiatives or information—that is, being consistent and timely with updates for your team. There’s not a lot you can control when it comes to change, but good communication can be a constant for you.
Ultimately, Pearson said, there’s no perfect way to do change management—just do the best you can, and learn from and build on that. In this way, you’ll be prepared for change as a natural and even exciting part of work and life.