Front Line change preview 6-14

How to Successfully Navigate Change

Consider these tips when the ground shifts around you at your workplace.

June 29, 2014

Front Line change 6-14

What is it about the mere mention of “change” that makes many of us nervous, anxious, and concerned?

(Even more perplexing are those who seem to be able to roll with it and remain unfazed by the idea and the outcomes. I envy them.)

In my work with credit unions, we explore and plan for ways to successfully bridge through change. It seemed easy enough—until it happened to me. Suddenly, a slew of emotions came tumbling into my head. I was confused, unsure, surprised. My biggest fear was saying the wrong thing to the right person.

subscribefrontlineWe all experience change in our workplace. How we cope and recover can mean the difference between having a fulfilling work life or feeling bitter and resentful.

After quietly contemplating my next move, I realized I needed to practice what I preach to my clients. Here’s my recipe for successfully navigating change. Consider these tips when faced with the inevitable in your job:

Prepare questions. Ask yourself what information you need and want to know about the change. Preparing questions in advance helps you think about the strategy you’ll use to get them answered. It also shows your manager and others that you’re taking this transition seriously and want to better your understanding.

Find a credible resource. Typically, this will be your manager or other invested staff who might be working on the new plans. Consider avoiding people who seem to always be “in the know.” Sometimes these types eagerly feed the rumor mill and ultimately fuel your anxiety.

Listen and take ownership. When you ask your questions, listen carefully to responses. If something isn’t clear, don’t be afraid to ask another question. If your resource doesn’t have the answer, ask when you can check back.

Find the silver lining. We tend to think of all the negative and scary things that can happen to us. As you think about the change, challenge yourself to come up with at least two or three opportunities you envision as a result. Is it a chance for you to grow and learn, an opportunity to work with new people, or a new way to look at your career path? The opportunities can be endless and exciting.

Stay positive. When others ask you what you think about the changes, share your silver lining. Don’t speculate; share only the facts as you know them. Encourage others to talk with their managers to get answers, too.

I followed my own advice and will be having a couple of meetings with the right people. Do we know all the answers? No. But I know the path will be clearer. And the opportunities? Well, the sky’s the limit!

CARLA SCHRINNER is implementation manager and senior master trainer for CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty program. 

This article first appeared in Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, the monthly sales and service newsletter for branch staff and their managers. Subscribe now to the print edition or PDF version.