Constant change has become a day-to-day reality for not for profit organizations. They must adapt to the changing needs and requirements of their stakeholders in areas such as funding and fundraising, community engagement, financial reporting and technology upgrades.
The ability to be productive while accommodating multiple changes is a must-have skill for managers, staff and volunteers. Even though little is certain, work still needs to get done. It requires self-leadership to adjust mindsets, manage feelings and control behaviours.
Here are some tips to help you manage through changes:
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON THE CHANGE
Everyone goes through an emotional cycle when faced with change. Before reacting, invest time in thinking through the change including the reasons behind it, how it will impact your organization and you and how to best accommodate it.
TALK THROUGH YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT CHANGES WITH SOMEONE YOU TRUST
Gaining perspective is essential to managing change well. Confidants act as sounding boards to test and broaden perspectives and provide more options to consider. Two or three heads are better than one.
CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE, ACTIONS AND BEHAVIOURS
Ask yourself, “What attitude will make the best of this change?” Then identify the actions and behaviours that demonstrate your attitude. Often, we don’t consider the impact we have on our co-workers’ ability to navigate change. Planning how to be your best will provide a positive example for others to follow.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KNOW
It is common for people to speculate about the implications of a change, especially when little information is available. These conversations can quickly turn negative. To stay productive, focus on fulfilling your role based on what you know; not on what other people think they know.
ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU ARE UNCLEAR
Lack of clarity is one of the most cited challenges of dealing with change. Seeking clarity avoids incorrect assumptions and wasted effort. Your questions are most likely shared by others and asking them early contributes to a common understanding of what will and won’t change.
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Change can be difficult and it is normal for people to feel anxious when their environment changes. Giving people (including yourself) permission to be human will reduce stress and minimize relationship tensions.
BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR CAPABILITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Often, people react to a change without taking stock of what they can bring to it. Thinking of the capabilities that will help make you successful—past experiences, knowledge, skills and relationships—will focus your energy and build your confidence.
Not for profit organizations will always face ongoing changes to their operating environment. That’s a fact. How you react to them—attitude, actions and behaviors—will determine how well you will work through them so you are at your best, both professionally and personally.
WRITTEN BY GUEST AUTHOR/BLOGGER, PHIL:
Phil is a senior change management professional with over twenty years’ experience leading change and helping individuals, teams and organizations achieve organizational goals across global businesses based in Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom.
Phil is the author of the book Change with Confidence: Answers to the 50 Biggest Questions that Keep Change Leaders Up at Night (Jossey-Bass, March, 2013). It provides complete, actionable answers to the fifty burning questions that leaders routinely ask about how to manage change successfully. His weekly blog can be read at changewithconfidence.com.