Monday, July 18, 2011

Capacity for Change: New Skill Set for Employees?

I thought long and hard last week about an individual's capacity to handle change in the workplace. So many times when we are called in on a project we are changing something in the organization. Whether it is strategy or a performance management system. The way things used to look, now look different. And every time we are involved in a change project, we have those employees that embrace change and those that go and hide in a corner.

I am wondering if through this recession, we have increased our personal capacity for change?

I mean people have lost jobs, people have lost their homes and finances....but I hear stories of resilience and perseverance.

Then, I thought about my own situation I am going through all of life's greatest changes all at once and I feel I have a different perspective on change. It almost makes me feel like if change isn't happening something is wrong.

Back to the organization...change is here to stay and I believe change is even more prevalent now. Companies have to course correct and react to competition and environmental issues. They have to do this quickly or be left behind. They depend on their employees to make this shift.

If this is the case, how do you "train" your employees to handle change? Is it change management training? How do you hire employees that can handle change?

Maybe we become "change seekers" by experience. Like in my example, this year I think I have experienced about as many changes as a person can. I feel it has made me stronger and has given me perspective. It makes a new organizational change seem like child's play.

We use an instrument called the CSI, Change Style Instrument, that assesses your style when it comes to change. I like the instrument because it is all about awareness and how you can communicate change to people that have different change styles. Here are the styles CSI has indentified:

My question is this...are we all moving to an "originator" style, based on our experiences? Can we be a conserver and then over time become an originator?

What are your thoughts on the subject of change capacity....

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