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Who Else Wants to Handle Change Like a Champ?

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Lately, when I speak with other leaders in the healthcare industry about their greatest fears, the answer I hear more often than not is about managing constant change. It’s a problem that seems almost universal.

Early in my career, I was highly emotional about change. It was hard for me to see the forest through the trees. Problems would flare up, and I would spring into action before fully considering all the options.

This reaction to change left me completely exhausted while accomplishing little. It turns out that I don’t make a great firefighter. All it did was cause me to lose confidence and ask the dreaded question…“ is this all my job has to offer?”

Leading through change can be difficult if you’re not mentally prepared to deal with reality. There is always more going on and sometimes – dare I say most of the time – it takes courageous efforts to slow down while considering your options.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

Because of this early confrontation with constant changes, I have become somewhat of a student of change. Mostly for myself and the teams I lead, but the answers I have found works for anyone who has a tendency to start dousing the flames without thinking things through. If it worked for me, it will work for you as well. I’d like to share with you the two do’s and a few Don’ts of leading through seasons of change.

Do!

  • Whenever possible do give a little space to your challenges. Confident action comes from clarity, and it takes a little space to gain the necessary clarity needed to deal with change.
  • Do trust your gut instinct, but remember there is wisdom in an abundance of advisors. If possible bring concerns about change up to a trusted yet unemotional ally, and let them guide your thinking.

Don’t!

  • Don’t solve problems configure solutions. This is the money point – think of ways to turn change into a victory. Change is often the catalyst to break through performance and the person who hangs in there and offers a practical solution – wins big time. Partnering with change is a way to experience success at the highest levels.
  • As hard as it may be don’t get cynical about change. Negativity can be crippling and stunt your creative processes. Catch yourself before you fall into this trap and change your inner script.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

Can you handle change like a champ? Probably not as well as you would hope. However, who says you can’t fail and get back in the game? Learn from mistakes and build upon your progress…you will be glad you did. You see even as we operate in an ever-changing industry it doesn’t need to keep you from great innovation and constant process improvement.

Your turn: What’s your best advice for dealing with change?  (Answer in the comment section below.) 

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