View change as a challenge or opportunity and take action says Michelle Ray

“I love change.”

How many times have you heard people embrace change with such enthusiasm? “Rarely” is the likely answer. The reality is that unless we reside in a bubble or choose to isolate ourselves completely from technology, media, or the world, it is impossible to avert the inevitability of change.

In business, the benefits of change are not always obvious, especially when you consider the tremendous amount of upheaval created by overhauling entire systems, operational procedures and above all…mindsets. It appears there is no escaping change. For the assistant, managing office change is familiar territory. Nonetheless, resistance to new initiatives may be our default position. Protecting ourselves from a threat, whether that threat is real or perceived, is instinctual. Reactivity is often the result when change is thrust upon us.

Is there an easier way to fully embrace change and help others accept it? Absolutely!

Simply put, we can be agents of change. We can view change as a challenge or an opportunity by taking the following actions:

1. Celebrate the Power of Progress

Gone are the days when we used to wait hours, days or weeks to receive documentation that enables us to operate with greater efficiency: book travel, share information internally, promote our services, deliver contracts…the list is endless. We can meet virtually, work remotely, study online, conduct research, and access global business and career opportunities instantly due to the unprecedented advantages of technology.

2. Eliminate archaic practices

Change creates possibilities to simplify and let go of burdensome systems and processes that impede progress and profitability. Letting go of the “old” to usher in the “new” provides opportunities to move beyond the status quo. Once we finally “bite the bullet” and declutter from a myriad of time-consuming and obsolete activities, we often feel lighter and re-energized. The payoff, although not necessarily immediate, often results in a heightened sense of relief and desire to continue the practice of purging antiquated approaches in pursuit of progress.

3. Encourage flexibility and agility

Change allows virtually every industry and enterprise to become more agile to capitalize upon opportunities for growth. Consider some examples of service providers that you utilize, either as a consumer or a business. It is highly likely that you have benefited from an array of improved options in service (and delivery of that service) because of the evolution of change. Those providers who seek to continually improve their offerings and change their business models are generally those who recognize their customer’s preferences for ease of use, and immediate availability of their product or service. They are constantly streamlining their mechanisms with the goal of providing their customers optimum experiences.

4. Develop new ideas and approaches

Businesses who are willing to stay ahead of the curve are successful because they strive for constant improvement and do not settle for complacency. They ensure that their leaders are cheerleaders for innovation who regularly seek out fresh ideas and opinions. In fact, “pain” can be a great motivator for change. Those organizations who truly learn from their fear of making mistakes, or the danger of remaining intransigent, recognize that a negative experience is an opportunity to modernize, grow and transform. In a nutshell, they view setbacks from a positive lens and become more open to creative solutions.

5. Build Resilience

Change represents an opportunity to either celebrate or commiserate… to rise above or self-destruct. How often do we give ourselves kudos for moving through change and uncertainty with confidence and composure? Consider the adage: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” By forging ahead through a difficult situation, we can demonstrate strength of character and greater resilience. Life is indeed akin to a rollercoaster ride, with ups and downs as par for the course. At any stage, it is up to each one of us to choose to interpret the stumbling blocks either as a negative or a positive. It begins…and ends, with our mindset.

As with change, everything is a matter of perspective! May this be your year to embrace change, celebrate opportunities and create new pathways toward attaining your goals at work, in business, and in life.

Born in Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Canada, Michelle Ray is a sought-after thought leader, business keynote speaker and author of Lead Yourself First! Indispensable Lessons in Business and in Life.

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