A Publication of WTVP

If there’s one word that captures the essence of business today, it’s change. Like it or not, this is the age of the changing organization. Mergers, acquisitions, consolidation, downsizing, reorganization and measures to cut costs are the norm. No industry is exempt. There are no sacred cows any more. Even the most venerable, conservative institutions are undergoing change. It is everywhere and it is likely to continue well into the foreseeable future.

A Battle for Survival
With a fluctuating economy and increasingly fierce competition, all organizations are in a battle to maintain market share and grow their business. New competitors are emerging—many from non-traditional sources boasting new business models and creative strategies that challenge the status quo. Needless to say, in this environment, companies are recognizing that what worked in the past will no longer work today. They are seeking smarter strategies, and asking their people to work harder than ever to help them remain competitive.

Under these conditions, it should not be surprising that many people feel alienated, stressed or estranged by managerial calls to embrace or even initiate change processes. It makes them feel uncomfortable, challenges the way they view themselves, disrupts their productivity and forces them to deal with a great deal of pressure and uncertainty. Some resist, or passively “go through the motions” of doing their job, hoping things will go back to the way they used to be. They won’t. They never will.

There is an alternative—people can choose to move forward through change, learn from it and become like the chameleon—adaptable.

Sometimes mergers, changing business policies, procedures or new initiatives come through your company, and it feels like a breeze. Other times, like a strong wind. But more often than not, it feels more like a hurricane—wrecking havoc in your business routine.

During these times, it makes all but the most proficient individuals want to take cover and hope for it to just blow over. One thing is a given—change won’t go away. The increased speed of doing business and making tough decisions is here to stay. If anyone in a professional capacity refuses to recognize and accept this state of affairs, he or she will simply not be able to keep up.

The Challenge of Having to Change
You must be able to adapt to a new way of doing and viewing things. This is not an easy task. Dealing with change is probably the most uncomfortable position anyone can find themselves in. It makes you challenge the way you view yourself; it disrupts your life; it forces you to deal with the unknown. You may feel alienated and, most definitely, you will feel stressed.

Sometimes a management decision to change is not always for the better. It all depends on where you are sitting when change occurs. Good or bad, change always brings with it uncertainty and insecurity. If it is perceived to be bad, our survival instincts kick in. We do what comes naturally; we dig in our heels and fight.

Adapting to Change
To cope with change, we should take some lessons from the natural world. Look around and you’ll see the various mechanisms that nature employs to adapt to change. A perfect example is the chameleon. It is a marvelous creature that can rapidly adapt to its environment by fluidly matching its pigmentation to its surroundings. Put it on a rock, it turns grayish-brown. Put it on a leaf, it turns green.

By changing and adapting, the chameleon protects itself from predators. Perhaps, being human, we may not have it as easy when adapting to change. However, by playing the role of a chameleon, the world of change may become simpler and less stressful.

Chameleon Characteristics
Practice chameleon-like adaptive behavior to help you through any transition process:

To read more of Christine’s motivational writing, visit tpw