My client told me her department was being reorganized for the hundredth time. The call center she managed was being converted to an email and chat response center instead of a telephone call center. She was sure customers would be angry when they found that they could not get their technical questions answered by phone any more. In fact she was so upset she admitted to me she was dragging her heels with respect to the change.

How do you adapt to change? If an interviewer asks that question, do you say something that indicates you embrace change, welcome it and easily adapt? “Flexible” is the code word companies use to let you know that they expect you to “turn on a dime.” Are you really that flexible?

What if you find yourself in a situation where the change seems to you to head your company in the wrong direction? My client felt this way. Some companies permit some dialogue around the pending change. An enlightened company would in fact value the input of its employees and might adjust its plans based on some of the input. My client’s experience however was with a very different kind of company. When she argued against the change, she was quickly squelched and told that it was clear that she just “didn’t get it”.

There are some people who thrive on a changing environment. They love to try new things. To them new is good and energizing. They become impatient with those who need to be convinced that the change is a good one.

Other people like to have things predictable day after day and change seems threatening. They feel rushed and pressured when someone wants to change what they have always done.

Neither behavior type is better than the other. We need both to create a balance. Those who enjoy change help us to move to better ways of doing things. Those who resist change can help us to choose only the changes that make sense and are truly “a step in the right direction”.

Perhaps it is because there are more resisters than changers that I get the impression that companies constantly advocate change and are critical of the resisters. (Some of the now defunct companies probably wish they had listened to the resisters!) To create a positive work environment where everyone feels heard changers need to help resisters see the benefits of change before the changes are made. Everyone needs to listen to the other side before decisions are made.

In the end my client had to decide if this change was one she could adjust to and could help implement. If she continued to feel the change was wrong then she needed to find another job that did not compromise her integrity.

That is a difficult decision and one often faced by people in companies today. The choice is to do something you do not feel good about or to give up a good job where you make a good salary.

Many choose to go along with the change and ignore their feelings of stress. The irritation comes out in subtle and not so subtle ways. When the change produces stress that is too intolerable, there is no way the person can stay.

Companies that want to keep good employees need to listen to their employee’s ideas and address them. If companies want to make their employees feel valued, then they must allow them to be heard and acknowledged even if the company decides to take an action contrary to what the employees advocated.

Take Action:
1. Identify the change going on in your life right now. (Changes come in all parts of your life not just at work.)

2. Write down on a piece of paper what is good about the change.

3. Write down on a piece of paper what is bad about the change.

4. Ask yourself if you adapted to the change would you still feel good about yourself and your job?

5. Decide whether to take action to shift from opposing the change to embracing it or to find a way to remove yourself from the situation.

Author's Bio: 

Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys’ Coach) and a Career Changers’ Coach as well as publisher of "Parker’s Points", an email tip list and "Road to Success", an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website and receive a values assessment as a gift. This assessment will identify your top 4 values. Working from your values makes the work more meaningful and fulfilling.