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I recently read a post by Antonio Nieto-Rodriquez, global project management champion, in which he said that organizational change or transformation projects are on the rise and predicted to represent a quarter of all project work over the coming years. I suspect that is low, especially when you consider that projects are, by definition, changing something. The only question is how much is going to change through the project. And the more change, the harder coping with organizational change becomes.

Even a simple and structured kitchen renovation project can wreak havoc with a family that is living through it. And change projects at work can take a real toll on us at the office. So, what strategies can help people coping with organizational change? Here are five.

5 strategies that can help people coping with organizational change #projectmanagement #smartprojex #team #leadership #change Click To Tweet

1. Focus on the inspirational vision for the change

When new projects are initiated, the project sponsor or manager should have communicated an inspirational vision for the change. While the overall communication of this vision rests with leadership, project teams may sometimes have a role in crafting the statement. And ideally, it’s quite inspirational. It gets people excited. Great stories typically work well as vision statements.

When teams don’t have that vision, it is easy to get stuck in the middle of the project details and lose focus on the big picture. And details are not always motivational or inspirational. So, if you are stuck in those details and losing patience with the demands that change ushers in, try focusing on that vision statement. Remember why you are doing the project(s).

2. Get to know the people you work with personally and stay focused on being positive

It has been hard for some teams to get to know one another as the pandemic has permeated workforces for so long. And while you may never be as close to your work team as you are to your family, you might be spending more waking time with them than you are with your family.

We need to go the extra mile in getting to know the people we work with personally and spreading positivity. There is so much negativity out there. And putting aside the negativity in the news, business can be hard work – filled with upsets and failures.

Can you turn those failures into a learning experience that you celebrate together? Not every celebration has to be a big party with cake and ice cream, or beer and wine, or a band with a bar. Can you find simple ways of reminding the team that you’ve accomplished something – even if the experiment failed miserably?

Coping with organizational change is hard. We need all the help we can get.

Coping with organizational change is hard. We need all the help we can get. Try these 5 tips! #projectmanagement #smartprojex #team #leadership #change Click To Tweet

3. Collect positive stories and funny jokes and share them when the time is right

If you are like me, you run across funny and positive jokes and stories all the time, but you don’t necessarily remember them when the time comes, and you need them. Are you using a web clipper tool?

I personally use the Evernote web clipper and store them in a folder in Evernote. And I can find them quickly from any device. I am sure there are other ways of collecting these types of stories. You will have to discover what works for you. The point is to find and save positive and funny stories and jokes and use them appropriately.

As I wrote about in the blog on implementing organizational change, laughter goes a long way towards getting teams to relax and intellectually engage.

So be one of those people who collects the positive stories and jokes and shares them with the team at just the right time.

4. Limit news and social media consumption

If you haven’t already figured out that a steady dose of news, regardless of the source, can get you down, let me break that news to you. And social media can be just as bad. I don’t doubt that some people need to work harder at limiting their exposure. For some, it’s a bigger part of their job. And, genetically, some people are simply more prone to addictive tendencies.

Don’t let coping with organizational change pull you away from work and towards news sites, social media, and internet browsing. Pull out all the stops – by using technology to help you focus. And by stepping away from technology frequently. Here are a couple of little ideas:

  • Turn on the focus mode on the software you are using, if available.
  • If you like listening to music, try Focus at Will – to play music that will help you focus.
  • Time block your day, giving yourself discreet blocks in order to accomplish certain tasks. Be clear with yourself about what exactly you will finish in the next hour or so. Use a timer. Hold yourself accountable.
  • Take breaks frequently and use those times to step away from technology. Take a short walk outside, if possible. Or do some simple stretching or meditating.

5. Continue your self-care routines

When people suddenly find themselves working extra hours at the office or dealing with a crisis, it can be easy to skip the self-care routines. And the impact can snowball. At some point, the crisis is over and you’re still at the office for 60 hours a week.

When that happens, exercise, meditation, family meals, and recreation can go out the window.

I’m not suggesting that businesses and projects don’t have crises that occasionally require extra hours, but it’s unhealthy to live in that place for long periods. There is no question that hospital workers coping with the pandemic know this.

You need to take care of yourself. No one can do that for you. Parents need to take care of their families. And spouses need to care for each other. I get quite sad when I read about high divorce rates – particularly in the start-up world – known for its absurd hours.

From my experience, there is nothing better than a happy family that enjoys time together. Don’t let work rob you of that joy. It starts with self-care. As they say on the airplane. Put your own mask on first.

Are you pulling your hair out coping with organizational change? Hopefully, these tips helped you. Maybe you have other ideas that you can include as a comment. I’d love to read them.