Reflecting on Change

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    Chris Gonzalez, President of A-G Associates, shares his thoughts on change.

    November 1 was my 39th birthday. As I begin my (painful) countdown to my 40th, I find myself reflecting back on my personal and professional successes, failures, achievements, and mistakes. I realize that it all begins with a strategy. My strategy articulates where I want to go; has tactical objectives that help me define, and measure, what success looks like; and an operational plan to let people know how, when, and where they fit into my master plan(s).

    In my experiences, I’ve learned that one of the few things we can depend on is change. Often, change occurs without warning, but in most cases, the ability of a person, or organization, to adapt to those changes can be the difference between success or failure. There are several examples of organizations that have succeeded because of their ability to accept, plan for, implement, and sustain change. On the flip side, there are several examples of organizations that have failed because they did the opposite.

    As a person who considers himself an expert on managing change, I’ve learned to follow three rules that can make the change process smoother.

    • Rule #1: Change is easier when people buy into the process. Engaging stakeholders can be valuable because, many times, people can agree on outcomes, but the path to get to those outcomes can vary based on the backgrounds, perspectives, and roles of those stakeholders.
    • Rule #2: Never underestimate the value of effective communication. Each stage of change may bring anxiety to those involved. Consistent communication with stakeholders, with purposeful themes, can help minimize rumors and maximize the intended effect.
    • Rule #3: If you approach change with an open mind and willingness to receive feedback, life could be much simpler. As a leader of change, one should be open to receiving feedback to ensure that his/her actions are having the intended effect. Hearing the feedback of others helps to ensure that those stakeholders are on board during the process and ultimately benefit in the end.

    That’s it. Those are my two cents. Good luck making impactful changes in your lives and businesses!

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