“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
The very nature of life suggests that change is all around us. Right from the day we are born, we encounter change every day, and get into different situations, relations, locations, positions , roles, cultures, systems or processes over which we have no control. If you want to grow in your personal and professional lives, it is inevitable that you adapt to change in order to survive and succeed. Like Charles Darwin says “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”
A-D-A-P-T to Change
“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." said by H.G. Wells. As a people or process leader of the organization, you must be adaptable to change so that the company can survive and grow in the face of changes. Depending on your attitude and your adaptability, change can make you fearful, skeptical, suspicious, or excited. The following 5 key action steps of A-D-A-P-T change model should be applied to manage change smoothly and successfully.
- Accept change
- Desire to learn and grow
- Action to deal with a situation
- Persistence in critical conditions
- Track performance and take initiative
ADAPT is a structured approach for change management in ensuring that changes are smoothly and successfully implemented to achieve lasting benefits. As said by Winston Churchill “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”.
1. Accept the change
The first step is to accept the change. It’s human nature to feel uncomfortable and awkward with change. However, you decide how you’re going to respond to change. Sure it forces you to face fears of the unknown, or give you a feeling of insecurity; maybe it’s even difficult to change your old thoughts, habits and behaviors. So, in order to accept the change, you need to recognize it, allow and admit the change and then try to understand how that will affect work tasks, situations, relations, position and environment. You need to understand the reason behind the change as well as seek information, the specific expectations for how you should now do your work or act in changed conditions. If you accept and adjust to the change by focusing on its positive aspects, you will lead a happier life. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.-Reinhold Niebuhr.
2. Desire to learn and grow
Treat new situations or conditions as opportunities for learning and growth in your life and modify your behavior accordingly. Focus primarily on the beneficial aspects of change and speak positively about the change to others and encourage others to seek opportunities for different approaches to tackle different problems, issues and concerns. That will give you the confidence and courage to do better job and makes your life easier. Learn from the failures to perform better next time. It opens the doors to new prospects that we would have never realized as Gail Sheehy said “If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living”. So continuous desire in life to learn and grow to adapt to change is indispensable.
3. Action to deal with a situation
People often accept change, but do not take any actions. If you don’t change, it will change you. So it’s better to accept change quickly take action in a planned way and apply the learning to adjust and adapt to the changed situation, requirements or environment. Your actions should minimize complexities, contradictions, confusions of changed situations and reduce their negative impact; your positive actions and clear direction smoothes the process of change. With sincere and genuine actions you can surmount any situation or conditions.
4. Persistence in critical conditions
It is very challenging to persist in a dynamic situation as the human tendency is to give up after two or three attempts, especially during crunch time. The leader must have the persistence to achieve the desired change, otherwise all the efforts will go in vain. Show relentless determination and commitment to achieve a particular aim despite opposition, especially when others people are against you and think you are being annoying or unreasonable. To adapt to change is difficult but often essential to survival and success.
5. Track Performance and take initiatives
We need to regularly check our progress to make sure we meet the expectations and requirements of the desired change. If we don’t measure, then we cannot manage change. Periodic review of results and action will help to determine where we are, identify the gaps and take corrective and preventive actions to steer in the right direction. In case you do not get the desired results, then you need to start the process again.
Change to A-D-A-P-T
Change is a part of every life, resisting is often as futile as it is frustrating. Leaders should start by emphasizing the need and the significance of change. Then, they should plan and introduce changes in a easy to implement manner while at the same time striking the balance between the needs of organization and those of individuals.
Start a small pilot project first to study the reactions of people and analyze them. Once you understand the results, introduce modifications wherever essential and improvise gradually. Make sure everything is communicated well as it would help in removing the fears and apprehensions of the staff. Group interactions can also facilitate adaptation to change effectively.
Change is a necessary way of life for any individual or organization. It is responsibility of leader to bring the necessary changes by overcoming the resistance put by people. Mahatma Gandhi once said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.