Having examined the importance of initiative in last week’s commentary, it’s time to shift our attention to another foundational value of the workplace.
THE SIXTH CONSTANT: ADAPTABILITY
Try as we might to prevent it, change will always be a present and irresistible force. It’s always there, and it has its own timing.
If we can’t stop or control change, what can we do with it?
The most productive way of dealing with change is learning how to take advantage of it. And that starts with thorough knowledge of what will happen. In this age of near-instantaneous information distribution, planned changes can be – and often are – communicated to all members of a business organization ahead of the actual implementation. Changes from outside the group, such as laws and policies or unforeseen events, are also more easily learned through the media.
This free flow of information is commonly facilitated as part of a commitment to transparency, as well as a way to help everyone prepare for the coming changes. Changes affect any and every organization, whether in terms of policy, branding, process, or core objectives. Informing everyone about such changes ahead of time can help them make the right preparations for a smooth transition.
So we can say that being well-updated is the first step for adapting to changes. Of course, the follow up is just as important. Everyone in an organization can use all that information to collectively form effective strategies to get the most benefits out of the changes and minimize the negative effects. These strategies must match the scope and extent of the adjustments to be made. They must also be shared with the entire organization through the same mechanisms as before.
Once the strategies have been set, they must be executed and the effects evaluated. Ideally, the adoption of the changes discussed before would result in minimal disadvantages and maximum benefits to the organization.
Amendments to existing industry safety laws are prime illustrations of how changes can be adapted to. With the government implementing stricter safety standards, companies would need to adapt their facilities and practices to be considered compliant. They would need to stay updated through official government announcements and news coverage, then set the employee’s expectations through internal emails and meetings. Strategizing can then begin, revolving on potential facility upgrades, changes to safety policies and implementation of stricter inspection procedures. Finally, the strategy can be executed and the results evaluated against the new industry safety laws.
Adapting to changes or unusual situations is unavoidable, because changes and unusual situations happen in any real-world setting. There’s a right way to do it, and that approach must become a fixture of any successful organization.