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Speed of Change post – March 2024

Does it sometimes feel to you like change is happening too fast?

Like just when you start to get your bearings something else changes and you can’t ever really get grounded, or settled enough to have a clear path forward?

I’m seeing this frustration with a lot of clients lately, just the wearing down of continuous uncertainty as directions keep changing and they struggle to stay productive when they aren’t quite sure which activities are actually going to move them forward effectively.

As I was preparing for a change management talk earlier this year, I ran across this video that I really love, because it explains how technology is driving the accelerating pace of change in business. It’s only about 4 minutes – and extremely compelling:

So, here we are, in the second half of the chessboard. We work in a business environment that is changing at the pace of technology. And yet, we live in bodies that are designed to change at the pace of evolution.

It’s only natural that we would struggle to cope.

But could we thrive instead?

If we understand more deeply how our brains and bodies are designed to change, we can leverage these natural processes and consciously adapt to our environment. Here are just a few places to start:

1. Knowing that a lack of certainty or direction increases stress and decreases our ability to make decisions, is it possible to create certainty and decision-making paradigms that are more constant, despite a chaotic environment? One of my clients helped his team thrive through a merger by reminding them of their collective mission related to improving patients’ lives. He was able to help them separate from the chaos around them and focus on doing great work with the lives that were in front of them, understanding that whether they had jobs at the current company or at some point would be working for a new organization, they would ultimately be serving the same cause.

2. Knowing that change is a constant and priorities will shift, can we develop communication systems that clarify what’s important on a regular basis? A lot of companies or project teams work in “sprints” that last two weeks at a time, with a short period of debriefing and reassessing priorities in between so that they can take new factors into consideration when deciding the focus of the next sprint.

3. Knowing that one of the biggest stressors around change is the shuffling of power and relationships in our work communities during reorganizations, can we create tight communities in our work environments that transcend roles? There are a lot of existing informal groups that form within organizations around shared interests or the desire to build relationships. For example, people get together to walk for a cause, do a beach cleanup or other community service. There are bowling leagues, book clubs, and zoom coffee breaks. Especially during times of change, it’s helpful to be in groups that involve people both inside and outside of our current organizations – possibly in our extended industry network. Having small tight-knit groups that we can count on, can give us that feeling of emotional support even when our actual work groups are shifting and unsettled.

Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring and writing about strategies that empower us to thrive and grow in a changing environment by aligning how we change with how our bodies and brains want to change and consciously creating support systems that can ground us despite the spinning chaos we live in.

I’d love to hear about how you are coping with change:

Where are you struggling?

What tools do you need to thrive?

What are some success strategies you’ve used?

Simply send me an email using the contact form, and make sure to sign up on our email list if you aren’t already.  This is an area worth diving into!

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