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Managing Change Personally and Professionally

Managing Change Personally and Professionally

We’re in a unique season, a challenging time – one like we’ve never experienced before courtesy of the Coronavirus. I can’t think of any other time in my existence where everyone is literally experiencing change – all at the same time!

Of course, not everyone is experiencing the same change or the same level of change, but nevertheless – we are all having to make changes both personally and professionally.

With this in mind, I’ll share ten simple strategies you can incorporate during this chaotic time to help you manage change. Let’s start with five things you can consider to help you personally manage change.

[Related: What People Worldwide are Doing to Be Productive and Content During the Coronavirus Outbreak]

1) Have a plan.

Although we don’t necessarily embrace change, it’s something that is unpredictable that definitely needs to be managed. The way in which you do that is to create structure by incorporating a plan.

Everything doesn’t require your immediate attention, so you need to identify what does. Focus on what you define as essential, which starts with your wellbeing and self-care.

2) Be as positive as possible.

Once you’ve committed to balancing positivity with your reality, get clear about what you can control vs. what you can’t control.

I’m in a place of information overload as it relates to the virus. What I can control is media intake. So instead of watching the news or constantly scrolling on social media, I go directly to the pages or websites I’m interested in to obtain information.

For example, I visit the CDC’s website, which allows me to filter and manage the content that comes my way.

3) Write it down.

One way to handle stress and manage change is to capture what stresses you, while another approach is jotting down what you're grateful for. It’s impossible to complain or maybe even worry and express appreciation at the same time.

Writing things down not only breeds clarity; it will also help you focus.

4) Say "no" more often.

Be selective about what you take on in our current environment. I recommend saying "no" to people and things that will unnecessarily add to your load.

My response times to certain people and opportunities are different nowadays. I need to take care of myself before I can assist my clients or be available for family and friends. I recommend that you also commit to prioritizing you before caring for your existing commitments.

5) Laugh.

It's hard to feel anxious when you're laughing. In addition, it's good for your health.

Laughter has been known to relieve stress and improve your immune system and your mood. Did you know that a study among people with cancer found that individuals in a laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted?

In short: Find your happy place!

[Related: How to Overcome Inertia (or: Would You Like a Rotten Apple?)]

In terms of how you can professionally manage change, I recommend the following.

1) Assess the culture.

Ask yourself: What are the problems and potential or existing conflicts? These things serve as the baseline for designing, driving, and managing change.

Once you’ve identified what these things are, you can respond and execute accordingly.

2) Articulate challenges.

Change comes with risk of the unknown; be upfront about the challenges you are facing as well as those you’ll need to face.

If those challenges haven’t been fully identified and planned for, discuss them and then brainstorm potential solutions.

3) Listen carefully.

Although there may be tons of questions, ideas, feelings, and emotions - openly and actively listen.

You can choose the best way (phone vs. email) to communicate once you identify the best time to respond. In the moment may or may not be wise as you consider what’s urgent, what’s important, and how to best proceed.

4) Adjust or set new performance objectives.

In times of uncertainty, you will want to know how changes affect your work as well as the way you will be evaluated. Although you’re seeking information, you may not receive it in your desired time frame.

Be patient, gain as much information as you can, and make adjustments as quickly as possible. As you gain clarity regarding your performance, I suggest that you assess your career development needs, as well.

Although more people are now working at home than before, I suggest that you continue to not only exceed performance objectives, but that you still make growth and advancing your career a priority.

5) Expect the unexpected.

As we all know, things may not go according to plan – even though you have one!

Managing change requires continual reassessment, flexibility, and adaptability. You’ll need to make the necessary adjustments to maintain momentum and drive results.

[Related: 6 Effective Ways to Boost Your Team Motivation]


Ericka Spradley is the Chief PowHer Officer/Founder of Confident Career Woman, which is the premier consulting firm for corporations and the mid-career professional woman who wants to advance, better manage her career, and go further faster. She is an advocate who partners with clients to help women ditch perfection, play bigger, and make PowHer Moves by: identifying their next role, creating a career strategy, offering ongoing career guidance, and coaching clients to master interviews. For additional information, visit:

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