Change in the work place can be hard, unsettling, uncomfortable and… oh screw it… let’s just say it…. Change in the work place can just be down right scary when we are in the midst of it.
I’m 52 so I’ve been through a lot of changes in my work environment over the years. Since I’m a control freak it likely isn’t much of a shock that work changes like taking on a new job in a new company or new department aren’t the ones that I have the hardest time with. I can see that this is because I feel like I’m the one who initiated the change in those situations. I made the decision to move to that new company, job, or department. I interviewed for it. I felt it “called to me”.
But change in the work place is change in the work place. Whether it is me initiating the change… or the change being “done to me”. So why does a large re-organization in the same company feel scarier to me than me going to a new job at a new company? They are both change. So why, when the change is “done to me” (like in a major re-org) do I have so much more fear and uncertainty? When I initiate the change the fear and uncertainty is a distant and minor feeling I am barely aware of. When I initiate the change it is excitement…. taking on a new challenge.
My Attitude is different.
Fear comes up. Fear of the change. Fear of the future. Fear I’m not going to like the new role I have been put into. Fear of a new manager I don’t know. Fear… fear… fear ….. fear. I never actually notice the fear much when I’m the one who is “in control” and initiates the change.
Change is constant in life. I find my attitude towards the change is pretty much everything.
Let me try to share this a different way.
Years ago I took a class to learn how to drive a motorcycle. They could not stress enough the concept of “look where you want the bike to go”. Why the major stress on it? Apparently the phenomenon of “target fixation” is one of the main causes of single vehicle motorcycle crashes and fatalities among new riders.
So the concept “Look where you want the to go” is repeated again… and again.. and again.
“Look where you want to go.” Even a beginning rider course should teach you that, and it’s sound advice no matter how much experience you gain. The bike is going to go where you’re looking. If there’s a pothole or debris in front of you, or a car pulls out, or an animal runs into your path, don’t look directly at it—look for a way out, where you want to go. –http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/05/09/know-how-to-avoid-target-fixation
How does this apply to change at work? If my attitude is that of fear of certain things happening…. that, then, will be where I am “focusing”. Where I am “looking”.
So if I apply that to my attitude and where I’m focusing. Ummmm…. kinda implies I’m likely to have an issue. ROFL!
With the motorcycles and target fixation the suggestion is to use the phenomenon of target fixation to your advantage. 🙂 Pick another target. Look where you want to go towards.
A large re-org where management needs your role to change… is, to me, like riding a motorcycle and going around a blind turn and being presented with something that surprises you.
Handling the Surprise: Initially
- Accept that it is what it is. You wanting the surprise to not be there isn’t going to make it go away. 🙂
- Don’t focus on the surprise – target fixation will cause you to see nothing else and you will crash right into it. 🙂
- Focus on where you want to go
- Keep moving forward and don’t crash. 🙂
- Scan the new road ahead of you
- Focus on where you want to go
- Keep riding
- Have fun
Truth? That 2nd half – “Now What” is what I personally do all the time in my career. This, in my opinion, should be no different, past the blind curb and past the surprise, than you are already doing. (Thinking Out Loud: My Career Planning) I just think that when it is a huge change at work like a major re-org…. we have to get past the initial surprise and give ourselves a chance to even properly SEE the new road and not just where we fear the new road might take us. This can be very hard. Truth? Our fear may blind us so much that we aren’t even able to properly see anything but the potential negative. At that point… target fixation will take over. We are blind to anything else.
Am I saying “everything will work out” and you will love the new job and whatever fears you have are unfounded. LOL. Of course I’m not saying that. That wouldn’t be realistic. I’m saying attitude is everything. Focusing on your fear will likely get you into target fixation. You aren’t seeing the new job or opportunities or the ways you might love it.
What do I suggest? I suggest giving yourself a good solid 3 months (if you are able to). And try try try not to focus on what you are afraid of. Try to focus on the road and where you want to go. Yes…. this is very hard with a major re-org. Because it is often hard to even see the road…. where it is leading you. Where it is going. All you may see ahead of you is the next blind turn. And yes… this can be EXHAUSTING. Absolutely bloody exhausting! Do I sound like I have experienced all this first hand. LOL. Yup yup yup.
Do NOT “run” from the unknown. ROFL. It’s unknown. 🙂 You aren’t applying logic. You aren’t making a decision. Cause you have no facts. LOL. Only fear.
There is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone.