“Change before you have to” said Jack Welch, the venerable leader at GE. When change is our new reality, how do we adapt and innovate in a world full of unexpected challenges? Certainly, changes can create opportunities, but who could have anticipated the changes to our professional and personal lives since early 2020? In the global employee mobility space, we have all been rocked by a shift in our businesses and face uncertainty.
In a long-term study of how change impacts people, Dr. Salvatore Maddi discovered that most people are leveled by great change; only one-third thrived in change. Hardiness was the factor to thriving, and it is made up of three aspects. They are 1) accepting that change is part of life, 2) optimism that you can take actions to improve your circumstances, and 3) having a sense of purpose and meaning. Instead of asking what change means or why it happened, they strive to make sense of what they can do now that it has impacted them.
In reflecting on the changes that 2020 brought (and 2021 will bring), how do we adapt and respond to change successfully? Business will continue to evolve and transform domestically and globally as companies figure out how to engage and manage their workforce —and how employee mobility will be best suited to enable success for their firms.
Pivot quickly when change happens because you’ve embraced that change is going to happen. Pause and take a breath while you examine and understand what is changing. As we look back at 2020, the mobility industry faced unanticipated challenges. The global pandemic and the resulting economic impacts could not have been predicted but were the change all of us faced. Relocations stopped or were postponed, companies adapted to a remote workforce, and immigration and travel stopped. Changes like these may require that you step outside your comfort zone, think creatively with an open mind, learn new skills, identify new options, understand customer needs, and create new solutions.
Practice effective decision-making with an optimistic perspective. Every decision involves choosing between an unfamiliar path or repeating a familiar one. Make a choice, knowing the risks and benefits, and move ahead. If it’s successful, celebrate! If it fails, learn why and what you can do differently going forward.
› Define the problem/issue needing a decision and gather relevant information.
› Identify the options—several possible paths may arise, so consider them and brainstorm new alternatives to generate all possibilities.
› Weigh the options—will the problem/issue be resolved, how will it work (through to end), place the options in order of priority, choose what is right rather than what is acceptable or easiest.
› Choose the option and act—implement and execute.
› Test and review the effectiveness—if needed, reconsider and learn from what didn’t work well.
Try to anticipate what may come— with a clear sense of commitment and purpose guiding you. Start with an evaluation of the current state—why do we do things this way and is there an advantage to it?
Be open-minded and solicit others’ input to get multiple viewpoints and ideas.
› Evaluate data—it’s not the only thing to consider but may give needed insights.
› Think strategically and long term, not in survival mode.
› Identify trends and reconstruct them in a unique way to create innovative solutions.
› Act on the highest and best opportunities, not the cheapest and easiest.
› Focus on long-term growth and profitability, not short-term profits.
If we embrace change, prepared with an optimistic perspective, and with meaningful decision-making tools to help us, our lives and businesses can thrive in the changing tides to come. Let’s show them what hardy mobility professionals can achieve as we face into the future!