How To Survive And Thrive In Difficult Times
During the last several months, I have traveled to cities outside of Texas and observed, via the local newspapers, television stations and conversations with residents, the desolation of their local economies.
Very high unemployment, many business closings and countless foreclosed home mortgages in some communities make Waco’s economic situation seem brighter in comparison. Yes, we are having to tighten our belts, cut programs, lay off employees and deal with change. But, overall, our economic situation is much better than in other parts of the country.
In dealing with economic change, it sometimes helps to recall the phrase “things could be much worse.” Losses like health, family, friends and reputation can all be irreversible and difficult to replace, but economic challenges can be survived with flexible thinking, persistence and creativity.
Flexible thinking in coping with change in the workplace resulting from economic downturn means being willing to consider alternatives to the way we have previously done our jobs and viewed our careers.
Individuals who intractably cling to the past are often not able to cope with the necessity of change. Beliefs and assumptions such as “this is always how I have done my job and I don’t want to change” or “my job is going to be much more difficult if they make me change things” may need to be altered to meet new economic demands.
Shifting one’s skill set to a new work model may be needed. Learning to do a job differently requires open thinking and persistence.
In the workplace, if change occurs, the whole team needs to be willing to change. Foot dragging and complaining can harm morale and may lead the employer to seek a better team member.
Not giving up during tough times, going beyond what is expected by the employer and maintaining focus on the desired outcome are necessary when making crucial work modifications.
Finally, creativity in meeting the challenge of change often means thinking outside the box.
Start by visualizing needed changes from as many perspectives as possible. Don’t immediately toss out ideas that at first seem improbable or unlikely to work.
Let these ideas bounce around in your brain long enough to see if a viable option emerges. Turn your imagination loose and dream of hidden alternatives. Lacking the need to change and thus adhering to the same pattern of work can cause complacency and the tendency to stay in a rut.
Remember that change is inevitable and growth is optional.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2011