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When the Shift Hits the Fan (A Practical Guide To Dealing With Change)


Bernadette "Bernie" Young
Bernadette "Bernie" Young, President, Center for Creative Teambuilding, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL  33711, 888/876-9824,

86th Annual International Conference Proceedings - 2001 

Today, changes in business are occurring at break neck speed and as a result, approaches are scattered, vision is blurred and a true sense of direction may be unclear. It's a challenge to stay motivated, keep operations moving and the lines of communications open. What do we do when the blades of change are spinning out of control?

The Opportunity
Dealing with change as a process is one of the most effective ways to assess and implement the results of the change. Using the analogy of a FAN is a "visual" process to understand the different phases of change.

Remember the fears of childhood? Today's changes bring back many of those same fears: fear of the unknown, fear of the new, and fear of what the new "look and feel" will be like because of the changes. Learn to understand the dynamics of change, what areas of control are possible and how to develop a new direction for yourself. This new controlled philosophy of change can create a blueprint that will turn fear into knowing anticipation.

Everyone plays a role within the change process. Understanding that role will determine whether you see yourself as a change agent or change target. Develop your own personal leadership style and determine how you can influence others by how you perceive the impact of change.

Communication during change is critical to the success of new ideas, direction and skills. However, resistance to change comes from those who are your peers, and from others who work for you or who supervise.Your perception of change determines its impact as change drivers and/or restrainers. Learn how to turn training challenges into opportunities and how to turn negative employees into positive ones.

Acquisitions, mergers and other major changes mean new teams. What do you need to do to create synergy and cooperation? What are the new rules? How can you develop a committed team and reaffirm core values? (Balancing tradition & change) Understanding team dynamics will ease the transition and create an excitement for the new team — a WINNING TEAM because you're on it!

Changes demand more and more of you as professionals. Yet, as humans, we can't keep going and going and going and going like that pink bunny. During this phase, learn techniques for dealing with the stress often associated with change, and how to plan for these stressors. Become recharged and put the fun back into your work.

Once the changes are in place, the challenge becomes the ongoing reinforcement of behavior to insure the success of the changes. This phase covers the steps necessary to insure buy-in to the new organization or direction. Understanding the keys of motivation are essential to provide for constant communication at all levels and provides environment open to renewal through change.

Basic Guidelines During Change

Following are eight guidelines for changing a team culture. Whenever possible, you should:

  1. Have a good reason for making the change. Culture changes are usually not fun. Take them seriously. Make sure you understand why you are making the change and that it is necessary.

  2. Involve people in the change. People who are involved are less likely to resist. Being a part of the planning and transition process gives people a sense of control. Ask for opinions about how they would do it. Consider conducting surveys, focus groups, and polls.

  3. Put a respected person in charge of the process. Each change needs a leader. Select someone who is seen in a positive light by the group.

  4. Create transition teams. You need a cross-section of your group to plan, anticipate, troubleshoot, coordinate and focus on the change efforts.

  5. Provide training in new values and behavior. People need guidance in understanding what the "new way" consists of and why it is more desirable. Training brings groups together. It allows them to express their concerns and reinforce newly learned skills.

  6. Bring in outside help. For some reason, there is often more power in what an outsider says than the same suggestions coming from outside. Use this power to reinforce the direction you want to go.

  7. Establish symbols of change. Encourage the development of newsletters, new logos or slogans, and or recognition events to help celebrate and reflect the change.

  8. Acknowledge and reward people. As change begins to work, take the time to recognize and recall the achievements of the people who make it happen. Acknowledge the struggle and sacrifices people have made.

101 Ways To Stay Cool During The Shift

  • Get Up Earlier
  • Prepare Ahead
  • Avoid Tight Clothes
  • Avoid Chemical Aids
  • Set Appointments
  • Write It Down
  • Practice Preventive Maintenance
  • Make Duplicate Keys
  • Say "No" More Often
  • Set Priorities
  • Avoid Negative People
  • Use Time Wisely
  • Simplify Meals
  • Copy Important Papers
  • Anticipate Needs
  • Make Repairs
  • Get Help With Jobs You Dislike
  • Break Down Large Tasks
  • Look At Problems As Challenges
  • Unclutter Your Life
  • Smile
  • Prepare For Rain
  • Tickle A Baby
  • Pet A Dog/Cat
  • Don't Know All The Answers
  • Look For The Silver Lining
  • Say Something Nice
  • Teach A Kid To Fly A Kite
  • Walk In The Rain
  • Schedule Play Time
  • Take A Bubble Bath
  • Be Aware Of Your Decisions
  • Believe In Yourself
  • Stop Talking Negatively
  • Visualize Winning
  • Develop A Sense Of Humor
  • Stop Thinking Tomorrow Will Be Better
  • Have Goals
  • Dance A Jig
  • Say Hello To A Stranger
  • Ask A Friend For A Hug
  • Look At The Stars
  • Breath Slowly
  • Whistle A Tune
  • Read A Poem
  • Listen To A Symphony
  • Watch A Ballet
  • Read A Story
  • So Something New
  • Stop A Bad Habit
  • Buy A Flower
  • Smell The Flower
  • Find A "Vent-Partner"
  • Do It Today
  • Be Optimistic
  • Put Safety First
  • Do Things In Moderation
  • Note Your Appearance
  • Strive For Excellence, Not Perfection
  • Stretch Your Limits
  • Enjoy Art
  • Hum A Jingle
  • Maintain Your Weight
  • Plant A Tree
  • Feed The Birds
  • Practice Grace
  • Stretch
  • Have A Plan "B"
  • Doodle
  • Learn A Joke
  • Know Your Limits
  • Say Have A Good Day In Pig Latin
  • Throw A Paper Airplane
  • Exercise
  • Learn A New Song
  • Get To Work Earlier
  • Clean A Closet
  • Play With A Child
  • Go On A Picnic
  • Drive A Different Route To Work
  • Leave Work Early
  • Put Air Freshener In Your Car
  • Watch A Movie And Eat Popcorn
  • Write A Far Away Friend
  • Scream At A Ball Game
  • Eat A Meal By Candlelight
  • Recognize The Importance Of Unconditional Love
  • Remember Stress Is An Attitude
  • Keep A Journal
  • Share A Monster Smile
  • Remember Your Options
  • Build A Support Network
  • Quit Trying To Fix Others
  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Talk Less And Listen More
  • Praise Others
  • Hug Your Dog
  • Say A Prayer
  • Write A Poem
  • Watch Butterflies
  • Take Naps
  • Giggle
  • Volunteer
  • Build A Sand Castle
  • Tell Yourself You're a terrific human being.
P.S.  Relax, take each day at a time...
You have the rest of your life to live & besides...

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