Be a Change Master

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Aug 15, 2011 in , , | No Comments

Are you the master of change in your life, or has change brought you to your knees?

Whether it’s adapting to school, or a new job, you’ve got to be prepared for the many changes ahead. Author Debra J. Crumpton, MBA, explains how to take charge of change in her book, Mastering Change Through Conscious Choice.

Anticipating and Adapting to Change

Those who adapt to the ups and downs in life are better able to survive anything. Not only do you have to learn how to adapt when change does come around, but anticipating it keeps you one step ahead of the game.

Ms. Crumpton states in her book that, “Winners in the New World of Work will be individuals and companies who are able to meet emerging demands and new expectations.” On the first page of her book, she features a quote from Fortune Magazine which reads, In this economy where the rules seem to shift every day, it’s the risk takers who are rewarded. Would you believe this quote was taken from a 1999 issue, not a recent one? Even so, its wisdom holds true today.

Who are risk takers? They are workers, grads–and also students–who actively keep their eyes open to changes in their field, and forecasts of where that industry will be in 5, or even 10 years. By staying informed and anticipating what might occur, they are better able to be responsive individuals who protect themselves from layoffs, downsizing, and outsourcing. Not only that, but students may opt to change majors if the opportunities shift in the field of their original interest.

Ms. Crumpton believes, “We must learn and master change management tactics, like shedding old skin, hibernating when necessary, adapting to changing conditions, moving to more hospitable environments, adjusting our living habits, and when necessary, reinventing ourselves.” But, the truth is most of us resist change–some even hate it with a passion–fearing what it may bring. Basically, in order to become a part of the “New World of Work” mindset, we must look at change from a different perspective. Instead of fearing the unknown, why not view it as an opportunity? Don’t approach it in an unconscious way, rather approach it with confidence, fully conscious of your options.

And speaking of fear, Po Bronson, author of the mega bestseller, What Should I Do With My Life?, believes we have misconceptions and deeply rooted fears which hold us back from doing in life what we want to do. Perhaps you fear there won’t be a job for you when you graduate, yet you feel frozen to change your major simply because there are misconceptions about the process. Face the fear by gathering information on alternatives with better outlooks and talk to people in those particular industries. Then verify what you’ll need to do to change majors if you like what your research has turned up. Replace fear with knowledge.

Tools of Change

Crumpton describes methods used to help people “master change through conscious choice”: you see change, interpret what you see, and act on your interpretation. How is this done? By using her three steps…

Seeing change-be aware of events, objectively think about ways these events will affect you. Change can be seen in the news, books, movies, public opinion polls and surveys, business indicators and demographic studies, just to name a few.

Interpreting what you see-categorize what you see. Are these fads, trends, or force of change happening? Trends and force of change are two categories that should be watched carefully–especially the latter of the two. Fads have no real effect on work or life to the point you’d want to spend a great deal of time watching them. However, trends and force of change weigh heavily on your work and life. Basically, the recession falls into the force of change category since it has affected a large portion of the population and touches our work and personal lives at deep levels.

Acting on your interpretation-is taking action. If you’ve done a good job watching all of the indicators, you come to a conclusion at some point. You “see the writing on the wall” so to speak. What you do next makes all the difference in the world–do you make a move based on knowledge–or do you sit tight out of fear? Doing nothing is doing something.

Is it time to be the master of change in your life?


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