2.3 When Bad Organizations Happen to Good People
EGL Newsletter Volume 2.3
I tend to get two kinds of calls about change. First, there are people who are driving a change and want help with creating and navigating the process. Second, I am often asked to work with people who have the experience of being changed through the actions of others. It is this second kind of request that I’d like to talk about here.
One of the most common
of my experiences is when the organization has been changed and its members are now dealing with the impact of that change. This newsletter sprang from a conversation with an old friend and colleague who has been facing such a change. So, these words are written to those of you who have had this experience. Here are five things that may help along the way.
Remember to keep balance in your life.
One of the worst things that can happen when your work life changes is to allow it to dominate your attention. Just as we must always take in immediate nourishment in the form of air, water, and food, we must also nourish our hearts and minds to stay whole and stay productive. Hold on to time with family, friends, and yourself throughout. Take time to exercise, do fun things, and treat yourself with kindness and respect.
Remember to take care of business today.
No matter what else is going on with your organization, take care of what needs to be done. Be present with what is today. Keep your eyes on your customers and the people in your organization. In times of uncertainty, planning and prioritization are vitally important. Maintain your commitment every moment and maintain momentum.
Remember to ask for help and support
You don’t need to do it all by yourself. Ask for whatever help you can get in your workplace. People, when faced with storms, tend to band together and weather them out. Find those people in your organization and create ways of supporting each other. Look within your community for people who can provide emotional support. Hire someone to take care of your lawn, your house, or your bills for a few months. Unload yourself so that you have the energy to stay focused on the path ahead.
Remember that it is okay to feel the loss.
In every change, no matter how good, there is always some associated loss (more on that next time). There is a belief in western society that we should not feel loss, let alone talk about it or show it. This can be really destructive. Whatever you feel, go with it. Just don’t live there. Repressed feelings tend to get bigger and come out at the least appropriate times. Acknowledge what you are feeling and give yourself an appropriate way to deal with it. Take long runs, go to the beach, journal, or talk to a willing listener. Let is pass through you, and let it go.
Remember that it’s not about you.
I have seen a great number of very qualified and talented people adversely impacted by organization changes. It is common to hear them ask, “what did I do?” That is the kind of thinking that has made them responsible members of the organization, but is NOT the kind of thinking that works in this situation. Take time to remember your successes. Create your personal portfolio during this time to remind yourself of how you got this far. See this as an opportunity to further expand your life and career.
Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. Change is an opening, an opportunity, a space for transformation. Plan for yourself, take charge, and act with commitment. There is a beauty in the instability that change offers. My advice is, take a breath, smile, and leap in ….