There’s no escaping change, so be ready when it comes

I am fortunate to have amazing mentors who heavily influenced my career. While I have received countless valuable pieces of advice over the years, there are four that individually are very helpful, but collectively help me embrace change.

First and foremost, do not become complacent, rather look ahead for change. It is constant, either in changing facts, people, responsibilities, or perspectives. Some changes will completely surprise you, but there should not be many.

Second, be prepared. Being prepared is more difficult if you believe change is inevitable. Sometimes the only thing you can control is your reaction and you must take steps to prepare to react well. This means developing the knowledge and skills needed to respond to a variety of possible events. These skills could vary depending on the change, but one skill is always necessary, which leads to the next piece of advice.

Always focus on improving communication skills. Effective communication is generally necessary but especially so when dealing with change. I cannot think of a single change that did not impact at least one other person. The communication process starts with ensuring the right people are notified at the appropriate time and understand what their role might be. Effective communication also requires actively and objectively listening to others, and taking feedback. This is crucial because change may make people nervous, and they will need time to adjust and collaborate to arrive at the best response.

The final piece of advice is always be a team player. Just as change is inevitable, so is the fact there will be a few changes you do not like. While the change may be difficult, the key is to be supportive, positive, and trust the team and process.

The nature of change and its impact varies greatly. Sometimes embracing change is as easy as learning new facts. Other times it is more involved. Regardless, these tools help me to look for change and take it in stride.