There are very few seasons in the history of business where the workforce has encountered and been expected to respond to more 90-degree turns then we do today. While masters of change have always been a highly valued attribute, it’s never been more honored than today.

Now, smack dab in the midst of it all, isn’t it time to do a quick check-in on your change muscle in preparation for what is yet to come.

Frank, self-awareness on your part is a vital factor for building a career with legs. So, has your pulse reading on this topic is an excellent place to start. On which side of the chart below do you suspect your organization identifies your change outlook?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that responding from the right side of the equation is not expedient for your future. If you landed on the “wrong” side in your organization’s eyes, urgent refinement and development must be on your near future radar.

I can’t tell you how many times companies have hired me to coach a highly valued executive who is judged as dead set against change initiates. Yet, the executive states: “I’m a change agent.” Wow! That’s a significant disconnect.

Don’t panic. It may be nothing more than timing. You think you’re raising valuable insights by pointing out areas of improvement. However, that isn’t how you’re regarded.

You may be sharing your concern way too early in the process. Unfortunately, the moment those in-charge hear negative comments, even accurate ones, they receive it as resistance to the concept.

Let’s look at the four steps you can initiate to ensure you’re showing up the way you want when new ideas come down the pike.

1ST STEP: Champion of Change:

Your first job is to be spotted as a “Champion of Change” for any new idea launched in your organization. What’s your initial reaction to change?  Is yes the first word you speak out loud instead of no or hanging back with: “I need proof before I can authentically get on board?

If “yes” isn’t your immediate response, your company may be measuring you as a “resistor” even though your intention was only to perfect.

The reality is if you want to influence the change, whether this attitude is fair or unfair, leaders tend to listen more responsively to those who are “championing” the initiative then those who seemingly are naysayers.

2nd STEP: Discovering Gold Mentality:

If even after first blush, you have a negative response to the change, pause. Don’t say a word. It is your job to search for the potential of the “new way.”  In this step, it is an attitude of exploring and uncovering ways the concept is or could be a valuable, much-needed improvement for you, your division, and the future of your organization. That can only occur when you trust the idea is worthy, or your company or boss wouldn’t be initiating it. You can only move on to the following steps when you’ve nailed this one! 

3rd STEP: TIMING Is Everything

If you see problematic issues right off the bat, vet them: Is the glitch something that will impact the project immediately, a month or three months or six months down the road? How soon do I need to raise my concerns for the organization to support the project?

You now have a broader understanding of the problems, and when to bring the matter to the attention of others. You’ve positioned yourself to better introduce your improvement ideas as “Champion of Change”—not as a resistor!

4th STEP: Improvement Advocate

You’ve established your “I’m on board brand” and recognize the appropriate timing; then, and only then, can you audibly articulate your problem/solution analysis.

Your ideas are now being voiced by a well-respected insider instead of a rebellious outsider. They will have more weight. Bear in mind, part of your presentation will be renewing your loyalty to all that is impressive about the current plan as you point out some fine-tuning suggestions that add value to the outcome.

Timing has everything to do with how you’re perceived in the process of change, and it is a key element to your future success. Especially since transformational initiatives are so essential in today’s business climate, start implementing this four-step approach the next time you’re faced with change. You’ll see a difference immediately in how you’re perceived and included in the initiative.

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