Working Amid Chaos and Constant Change

Constant ChangeAll of us have heard a comment similar to this; “My organization has only one constant – change! How can you efficiently get your work done when your leadership, team mates, responsibilities, and structure are constantly in changing?”

I’m sure you’ve heard change is inevitable, and you’ve got to learn to be more flexible, yada, yada, yada. But the truth is, change is hard and to go through it constantly cannot be fun either.

When you’re faced with constant change, you need to ensure that you’re communicating your processes and goals with your new team mates and your management to make sure you’re on the same page.  If you have a company intranet or cloud-based system, use it to remain up-to-date and share your latest tasks or news. If not, this might be a great time to suggest such a tool and show that you are someone who embraces change rather than fighting it.

To ensure you’re maximizing your time, keep prioritized lists to maintain your efficiency and also relieve some of the stress. A time saver might be to create some “boiler plate” email templates for routine responses. It’s also important not to become isolated, so reach out to new teammates. Gathering new contacts is always a smart move and a good investment in your career and can help you view change as a positive.

From a mountain of research, here are a few techniques that will be helpful:

Plan for change to happen
Assume that things will change, expect it, and position your mind accordingly. For instance, when planning projects, factor into the schedule (and your own thinking) that the timeline may change, different people may become involved, and even the desired outcomes themselves may shift.

Change the usual time frames
Include additional time for approvals, and incorporate additional times to check in with decision-makers about the project. Make sure that you’re distinguishing between distractions and true deliberate changes in direction that warrant adjusting priorities and ways of operating.

Does this position fit me now?
Ultimately, it’s important to ask yourself whether this is the right environment for you. It might be worth recognizing that this role isn’t an ideal fit for you.

Constant turbulence
The business world is more turbulent than ever, and associates are often measured not by their results, but by their ability to be nimble in the face of constant change. It’s critical, therefore, not to let any negativity show. No matter how often the decision-makers throw all of the pieces of the organization up in the air, your attitude should be “I will make it work.”

Focus on your role
Your role du jour can benefit your long-term career aspirations if you acquire as many new skills as you can before things shift again. In terms of productivity, the reality is that you can’t be 100% efficient when your business is a moving target. Once you accept this, you can make the best of the situation. The good news is, those who are concerned about these matters are always far more productive than those who aren’t, so you are going to come out ahead in this respect.??

Practice mindfulness
Give your sustained attention and focus to that one item for a specified period of time (e.g., twenty minutes). Then, switch over to open awareness. Lose your narrow-minded focus and observe and perceive. As you incorporate this mode-switching behavior, you’ll find you get better at directing your attention appropriately over time, improving your productivity and effectiveness.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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