Sunday, September 8, 2013

During Strategic Change Initiatives and Company Reorganizations - Don't Forget to Manage Your Personal Brand

First and foremost, I think the most important thing you can do during any type of change at work or at home is to SMILE and keep a SENSE OF HUMOR.  Change can sometimes make you feel like your world has turned upside down but it is important to keep perspective and laugh if you can.  It will make everything that follows much easier to digest and swallow.

At any given time, there is probably a company going through some type of change management.  You have to in order to keep up with the ever-changing market trends.  And what often happens when a company announces major new initiatives is a natural gut reaction from employees which often involves lots of emotion.  I do not proclaim to be immune from this natural desire but I have learned over the years that it does not serve a purpose, nor is it at all productive.

Here are some tips I've put together that I think will serve any employee well during a company reorganization or other major strategic change:
  1. Don't Forget to Manage Your Personal Brand:  Think about everything you do and say during a company reorganization.  Management is going to be in the same boat as you.  Things are going to be undefined and everyone is going to feel more stressed and uneasy.  Decide to be positive about the changes and get onboard fast.  Think of it this way.  If the company does have to do lay offs, which employee will they let go?  The happy team player with a can-do attitude who is working hard to learn new skills and better the company or the pessimistic employee who spends most of their time lamenting to colleagues how awful the changes are and who has been combative in implementing any new changes.  Think like your manager.  Who would you want to work with if you had the choice?
  2. Go With the Flow:  During major change initiatives, nothing is set in stone.  If you are of the mindset that you are going to go with the flow, then last minute changes, redirections, or unexpected road blocks will be that much easier to tackle.  Plus, if you are ready to go in any direction, you will also find you prepare for more options.  You will become an invaluable asset and put yourself in a great position to succeed.
  3. Smile and Make a Conscious Decision to be Happy:  You may not have control over what is going on around you, but you do have an incredible amount of influence over your own actions and attitude.  Whenever I was young and started to complain about going to school everyday, my mom would say, "You control how you feel.  I challenge you to smile and talk about the things you are excited about that will happen tomorrow.  Keep thinking of the positive aspects of your life and what you appreciate about it.  You'll be surprised how you will start to feel better."  Remember that it is your health at the end of the day.  Stress, anxiety, and fear will affect you physically, and can physically age you.  It is definitely not worth it to internalize that much negativity.  
  4. If You Need to Vent, Vent in Private:  Sometimes you do need to just let it out.  If you have some close friends, go ahead and dump, BUT begin with the caveat that once you get it out, you will be done with it.  Emotions are contagious, and you do not want to become that friend or spouse who is eternally negative and depressing.  People will not want to hang out with you after a while, and it is really not fair to take it out on the people you love most.  Let it out but then let it go.  Also, try not to do this at work, because again emotions are contagious and change has its best chance of succeeding when everyone is onboard and positive.  If you want to work in a happy environment and culture, I suggest you consciously try to create one that is happy.  I know I personally would not want to come to work everyday if I only worked with people who were constantly complaining.
If you are able to successfully employ the above tactics, I can guarantee the changes at work will not be as bad as you initially thought.  It will not be easy at first, but with practice, these tips can truly make a difference regarding how you feel about change and will help you excel in your career and at home.  So, whether it is a new strategic change initiative or a company reorganization, try to remember to manage your personal brand, and you'll be in the best place to succeed.



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