Managing change requires positive approach
Change affects each person differently. For some, being the "new person" at work is exciting. For others, that same unfamiliar territory can make them wonder why they ever switched jobs in the first place. A "Begin with Yes" approach is appropriate for both types of people, however, and perhaps even more importantly, for the employer. Let's see how that plays out in the following examples.Q. With people staying in the workforce longer, how do you welcome the "experienced" while at the same time making room for "newbies" and their new ideas and work styles?A. The answer to this one begins at the top. Management must have a desire that borders on a passion to embrace diversity. If leadership understands and appreciates diversity, then the company is well positioned to be on the cutting edge.Most Fortune 500 companies have jumped into this arena enthusiastically, and there's no reason for any company not to follow suit.Assuming that diversity is embraced, the next step is really figuring out how to translate that passion and belief into action.In the case mentioned above, a starting place is realizing that there really are many age-related differences between older workers and those just entering the workforce and they need to be understood and respected.In-house training is a great place to start. Get a knowledgeable speaker to explain the work style differences between various age groups. Both the seasoned workers and the newer employees need to understand and respect the work style differences that exist. You can't always make people get along or work well together, but you can provide employee education in an honest and accepting way that sends the message, "We need and value you all."Q. I'm new at my organization. What's the best way to make friends and gain credibility in my position at the same time? A. My suggestion is to move slowly. Take the time to observe the culture. What are the policies, and more importantly, what are the unwritten but understood practices? Pay attention, ask questions and let people give you clues about how things operate.The best thing you have to offer the new company and potential new friends is yourself. Let them discover you rather than exploding on the scene like a short-lived fireworks display.I'd also suggest that you have a heart-to-heart conversation with yourself. What has worked for you in the past? What could use some fine-tuning? What lessons have you learned that you can bring with you?A new job is a new beginning and you have that incredible opportunity to start fresh with a clean slate.Q. One of my new employees is failing to recognize that, at the end of the day, while I value her opinion, I am where the "buck stops" and will decide how best to proceed with a project. How do I get this new person to understand that while at the same time not squashing her input and feedback?A. This is an easy one. Tell your employee exactly what you just told me. Be kind, but don't water it down and don't apologize. Your employee will be learning an important lesson about the world of work and you won't be wondering if you were clear enough.Paul Boynton, president and chief executive of Moore Center Services, Manchester, is also a personal coach, corporate consultant, motivational speaker, host of the television show, "Begin with Yes" and author of the book by the same name. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.