How to Remain Productive with Change

January 24, 2017

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Change is constant.

And change is good, says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, a psychologist, executive coach, and author of The Office Survival Guide.

Sometimes, though, when one moves into a new job role, and/or has a life change (such as more kids) it can be difficult to change with the demands of the new job and life circumstances.

Change Sometimes Leads to Decreased Productivity

Productivity can decrease when these changes occur in life. Also, the way that you worked in your previous role might not work in your new job.  

“In different stages in life, productivity may be defined differently because life gets more complicated, tasks get more strategic in addition to being tactical, roles change, we have more to do, more people to take care of, and things become more complicated,” Puder-York says.

“Many people that I’ve worked with have been on the verge of derailing because they haven’t made the accommodation or the adaptation from their younger selves to their older self, where time management (being able to prioritize) and delegate really become essential for productivity.”

Adapting to a leadership position, which includes learning how to use the latest software programs or learning how to think about your company’s customers in a new way (so that you can deliver optimal customer experience), is important for success. Here are some tips to help you as your job role and your company’s customer priorities change over time.

Change Your Mindset

The first part of adapting to a new role is to alter the way you think about success, failure, and risk.

“Things don’t have to be 100 percent in order to achieve a goal,” says Puder-York.

One part of it is changing their mindset and being aware of their mindset of being black and white about success and failure and risk. Things don’t have to be 100 percent in order to achieve a goal.

Be Creative

Puder-York recommends that you ask yourself, “What are you responsible for? How do you have to set boundaries on your time? What things can you give up doing and either have other people do? How many things can you do a little differently and, if you do differently, how do you do it differently?”

Perfection is something that we hang onto, says Puder-York.

“Given what I’ve seen, people don’t manage where they don’t delegate effectively,” said Puder-York. “Especially those perfectionists on the job who are so afraid of an error or of a big failure that they almost spend more time trying to manage the tasks themselves, especially if they grew up as experts.”

Puder-York says you have to spend a little extra time at the beginning in transitioning from being the executor into the leader who develops and leads others to do the actual executing.

“It might take a little time to make that transition.”

Building a Customer-Focused Company

Lauren Ashwell, leadership coach and president of Lauren Ashwell, Inc., says it’s an “artful sort of balance” to not only implement change in a new job, but also on the company level.

“The way the company thinks about its customers, the way the company thinks about its brand — especially the real iconic brands — sometimes it’s difficult to change,” says Ashwell.

And changing the company mindset into one that is customer-focused can take a while. As a leader— or potential leader — in your company, you may find it difficult to admit that your vision and strategy just isn’t working. But you have to, before it’s too late.

“They may, during an interviewing process, say, we’re really looking to change, we’re really looking to change,” Ashwell adds. “But then [you] get into the role and [the company] has become so successful for so long, it can be very hard to actually get people to implement change because they are afraid of damaging the brand.”

Ashwell says there’s a balance between how one helps a brand adapt to new customer and market requirements without eliminating what is already good and working within the company. 

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