Reflect on your own personal experiences with change. Describe one organizational change and how you reacted to it. How did you treat other people in that process?
I debated on which change effort I wanted to reflect on. Recently, I was one of the people who led a large change effort at my organization to create a new department. However, I thought leading a change process inevitably creates very different reactions than being swept up in a change process. Here is my story of being part of a change process I did not invite or expect.
In 2017, the department I had happily been a part of for 4 years was disbanded. The staff were scattered to other departments and it seemed like there was very little appreciation for the work we had been doing. I have never been more upset about an organizational decision. At that point, I had done some of the best work of my career.
I was bitter, annoyed, and extremely cynical in the time immediately after the department ended. I would commiserate with my former colleagues looking for validation about what a terrible decision it was. Often annoyed, when I realized other people had started to move on. I was sad that some of my former colleagues started to leave the organization.
When I found myself on a new team, I brought in too many opinions about the way “we used to go things,” rather than being open to new approaches to the work. Finally, years later, sadness has morphed into nostalgia about the days of working on such a tight-knit team. I still see my former colleagues and we will reminisce about the old days, but things change.
I am not sure if it was a 4th of 5th level change. It was a departmental change, but it was because of the organization made a change in priorities.
In the beginning, I mentioned a change effort I’ve led since then. I’ve used the change hear to guide me through this subsequent change effort. I’ve tried to be transparent with those affected, not gossiping, but explaining rational. I’ve tried to listen to people when they are frustrated and put a value on preserving positive team dynamics.