Are you facing changes in your workplace that make you feel uncertain about how to navigate your career? You are not alone. Organizational restructuring and management turnover are happening at rates not seen since the last recession, creating heightened uncertainty in the workplace. As companies seek to keep up with AI advancements, rising costs, and tightening capital markets, more pressure is being put on employees to deliver higher results without incurring incremental costs.
Three skills you need to master
If you are in a situation where your role is changing significantly, there are three skills you need to master to position yourself for success.
Everyone must be on the same page regarding expectations when roles and responsibilities change at work. Sit down with your leader, and ensure you understand what they want you to accomplish. Getting clarity on desired outcomes and operating parameters can help you to understand what is important and the actions you are empowered to take to deliver against expectations.
If you are taking on an expanded role, understand if any tasks will be deprioritized or completely divested. As a rule, if you are currently working at capacity, you can only take on additional work if some of your previous work is removed.
When collaborating with clients, I frequently use a full teacup as a metaphor for capacity. If a teacup is full to the brim, and you add a tea bag, the cup will overflow and make a mess.
To make tea without creating a mess, leave some room for the teabag. By sitting down with your leader, discussing your current duties, and aligning with them on what tasks will be removed, you create the capacity to accomplish your goals without making a mess.
Leverage Your Network
The second skill you want to leverage is accessing your support network. Take a 360-degree look at those around you. Who might have skills, knowledge, or insights to help you navigate your new environment successfully?
Employees frequently struggle with change because they are unwilling to communicate to those around them that they need help. Part of the benefit of working within an organization is collaborating with people with a shared mission. Connect with others within your organization, share your challenges, and request assistance.
By casting a wide net and taking in feedback from multiple sources, you can gain clarity on the actions you need to take to thrive within your organization. You can also establish strategic partnerships that will allow you to exchange value with your co-workers for mutual benefit.
The third skill you want to use is securing resources. You can do this by starting with the end in mind. Define the ideal end state, and craft a plan to take you from where you are today to where you want to be. Then devise a strategy for gaining what you need to accomplish your goals.
When change occurs, it is vital to determine resource needs. For example, if you were planning a road trip to the beach, you would take the time to decide how you would get there, along with what items you
would need to bring to have a safe trip. You would take time to plan the trip to ensure you have enough gas, drink, food, sunblock, and other niceties necessary to make it to your destination and enjoy yourself once you get there.
Similarly, pausing to determine what resources you will need to navigate organizational change will help you reduce stress and find success. A few resources you may need are
more frequent meetings with your leader to align on priorities
additional training so you can effectively take on new tasks
extra budget so that you can deliver against raised expectations
more autonomy to make decisions without having to talk with leadership
The better you can articulate what you need to succeed and advocate for those resources, the better positioned you will be for success.
One constant thing in business is change—your ability to flow like water when your organization changes will position you for success. One of the things that makes water so unique is its ability to take on the shape of whatever it is in. Employees who can metaphorize themselves to fit into whatever environment their organization puts them in position themselves for long and successful careers.
Peter Drunker once said, "One can not manage change. One can only be ahead of it." The best way to stay ahead of the changes in your organization is to clarify what your leadership expects from you, leverage your network, and get the resources you need to succeed. This will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for what is coming next.
Thank you for reading this blog
Dorian Cunion is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with Your Path Coaching and Consulting. He is a former retail executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. He is a Co-Active coach who focuses on helping professionals and small business owners overcome insecurities, knowledge gaps, and lack of direction. He does this by assisting clients to tap into their values, recognize their strengths, and develop actionable strategies for growth.
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