We all recognize that organizations are usually resistant to change. They seem to embrace the status quo, and new ways of doing things are discouraged. Yet, business organizations have to adapt to survive. Also, in today’s ever- evolving world, organizational stasis is almost impossible to maintain.
To be successful during organizational change, you need to be able to live with uncertainty and to let go of the past. Adaptability is key whether we are looking at an organism or an organization.
Change in an organization may start with a single, seemingly random, act, yet, even a small change can have a ripple effect. It begins to change the overall process. Margaret Wheatley, a well-known organizational consultant, notes that one fluctuation in an organization can be amplified by the system itself.
How do you recognize that change is coming in your workplace? Can you predict it? Can you prepare for it? Can you bring it about? Can you beneFit from it?
There are some obvious signals of change. Suppose, for example, the CEO is retiring. Or someone is fired. Or there is a reorganization. Or funding becomes a problem. At these times, employees brace for change. The organization generally tries to restabilize, to maintain as much of the status quo as it can.
But smaller changes can also have an organizational impact. Let’s assume a mid-level manager is promoted or decides to leave for a different job. It may only be one person in middle management, but such a change brings about a different set of connections which sets organizational change in play. Similarly, a new hire or two can change the way an entire department functions.
If you see change coming for your workplace, don’t disregard it, and don’t waste your efforts trying to stop it. If change has started, it’s already too late to go back to what was. Instead, seize the opportunities it offers. Change has an energy of its own. It can lead to growth. It often welcomes creativity and new ways of thinking. It may be just what you need to put forth some of your own ideas and to advance your career.