If you feel that the world around you changes way too fast, you're probably wondering what to do about it. Progress can be seen literally everywhere - in the media, in our homes and in our industry as well. But what can you actually do about it? How can you adapt to the changes that are coming and occurring faster and faster?
Why don't we like change?
Scientists noticed a long time ago that people do not like change until the situation becomes very inconvenient for them, whether it is positive or not. Why does this happen? First of all:
- We fear the new environment will be worse or we will not see a distinct improvement
- Making and adapting to change involves effort, which we generally avoid
- We do not believe in our adaptive and creative capabilities
Of course, each person perceives change in a slightly different way, but from both my and scientific observations, the criteria listed above usually apply.
In some sources, a certain acronym emerges to refer to changes in reality: VUCA. It was created in the late 1980s in the United States and used to describe the world at the end of the Cold War. The letters respectively stand for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
Although VUCA was developed for the needs of the military, the business community adapted the concept to its needs very quickly, and as far as can be seen, it was completely justified. This theory requires you to:
- Set clearly defined goals
- Monitor and accommodate to customer needs
- Communicate with the environment and take into account changing circumstances
- Plan flexibly, creating contingency scenarios and not tying yourself to any of them for the long term
- Strongly position the brand in the perception of its audience
- Look for new development paths and solutions to problems
Perhaps some of these premises seem obvious to you. That's absolutely normal! In practice, each of us is trying to fit into a reality that is often volatile, uncertain or complex.
Chaos in practice, so what has the pandemic taught us?
Thinking about sudden changes, sooner or later we will come across the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you remember how difficult it was for us to switch to remote work and how little we knew about the disease that literally stopped the whole world? My impression is that the coronavirus pandemic was a time when the VUCA concept was particularly noticeable, and we all had a chance to see if we could adjust to the new reality.
It is impossible not to mention the challenges we faced as an itMatch team. Changes in the labor market, sanitary regulations, the mentality of candidates and the need to move all recruitment processes to the Internet have caused our model of working with clients to change significantly. Due to the restrictions, we conducted meetings via platforms such as Zoom, switching away from hosting specialists in our office.
The changes in workflow didn't just involve the tools and technologies we use on a daily basis. It turned out that emphasis was needed on other competencies and skills. Scheduling meetings, presenting offers and even establishing relationships with clients changed.
Branding activities also had to be transformed. Both the expectations of audiences and the obstacles to content creation posed many difficulties, and eventually industry events were almost entirely discontinued.
So what can you do to adjust to the changes?
So let's take a look at the steps that are worth implementing to take advantage of the changes and limit the damage that could occur. All 3 categories are equally important, and each of us should consider our problem comprehensively, not concentrating solely on one aspect, such as relations with the environment.
Analyze and plan
Let's start, then, by analyzing your typical day. Step by step, with maximum attention, look for both mistakes and new opportunities. Are you using modern tools? Are you scheduling your meetings so that they are more efficient and at the same time last as short as possible? Even the most laconic list of issues you need to discuss will allow you to go through the topics and accomplish everything. Anyway, it probably happened to everyone to forget an issue that could be consulted in a few minutes.
Organizing your work mode will also bring you closer to success. In his post, American psychologist Travis Bradberry suggested taking a 15-minute break every hour approximately. Although apparently this is an unrealistic ratio, we must admit that the vast majority of us are simply unable to focus on work for longer intervals.
It's also a common mistake to think about other tasks during breaks or after work - if you mentally remain at your desk, you won't be able to relax and focus for the next few minutes or hours.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to work in sprints instead of long intervals? Many people think that they can do a lot in a year, and practically nothing for a week. This is a mistake! The better you plan your short- and medium-term goals, the higher the chance of achieving the long-term ones. In determining your task list, the people around you are very helpful - it's always worth looking at their methods of time management.
Take care of relationships
Improving the quality of communication always brings tangible benefits, but it can be argued that good communication with stakeholders and colleagues is especially important when introducing and adapting to change. First of all, answer 5 basic questions:
- When exchanging information, are you focusing on an effective and comprehensive presentation of the facts?
- Do your messages reach all the people they should?
- Could the flow of information in your team be noticeably faster? If so, what is the obstacle?
- Are the tools you use, such as communicators, convenient and functional? Maybe you should look for some alternatives?
- Do the messages you formulate appeal to your audience?
Frequency, regularity and reliability are also invaluable. If your team members keep you informed of changes and unforeseen circumstances, initiating potential changes will be much easier, and it will simply take less time to resolve problems.
Regular motivational meetings, public appreciation of employees for their successes and small rewards systems work well in many organizations. Whether you choose to conduct brainstorming sessions, group analysis or pair-recruiting, above all, keep the people around you and your own happy.
Invest in personal development
Change is also the ideal time for improving skills, mentoring and coaching, which means investing in yourself. Identify areas of your competence that particularly need to be taken care of. To do this, in addition to personal analysis, it's a good idea to use the 360-degree feedback. Ask the people you work with on a daily basis for maximum honest opinions about you. Constructive criticism is never comfortable, but it will make you aware of your problems and allow you to start working on eliminating them.
A complement to the 360-degree feedback, on the other hand, is a comparative analysis of the environment; after all, other people and organizations need to adapt to change, too! It's worth knowing about the methods used by your environment, even if not everything can be transferred to your workplace. Primarily, look for inspiration and use your creativity, after all, no one knows the specifics of your position as well as you do!
If the changes involve your place of employment, because, for example, you have just joined a new team, make the most of onboarding. Ask questions and make sure to build good relationships from the first day on the job.
Sooner or later, each of us will find ourselves in a situation that requires rapid accommodation to change. This will not come with great ease to everyone, but by using the previously mentioned methods, coming to terms with it will certainly be much simpler. Also remember to adapt each piece of advice to yourself. There is no one specific recipe that will work identically for every person. With this thought in the back of your mind, don't forget that change is part of development and is completely natural! Just as important part of development is learning how to deal with them, even if they are not among the good ones.
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