Change can be frightening, especially for people who do not feel confident that they have the power, authority, or resources to ensure a favorable outcome for themselves. Many people do not have knowledge they need to approach change in a constructive fashion. For employees to cope with downsizing, layoffs, restructuring, or re-engineering, they must learn to call upon their existing skills to make a relatively smooth transition from the old to the new.

During the reorganization of AT&T, two psychologists, Salvitore Maddi and Suzanne Kobasa, wanted to determine why some executives would thrive during this period of change while others would not.  They determined that there are three key qualities present in the executives who were successfully able to manage change:  control, challenge, commitment.  Hardy managers exercised whatever control or influence they had to do their jobs in the most effective and efficient manner.  They assumed that they could make a difference.  They saw the change as an opportunity for them to use their ingenuity to solve problems.

In order to survive in today’s workplace, it is important to learn new strategies for approaching change.

  • Commit to do your best in new situations
  • Exercise control when possible
  • Look for opportunities rather than problems

While you may not have control over other’s decisions, you do have control over your own responses. Learn to look for the positive side of the situation, and think about the positive meaning for you. If you think about the negative, your own natural stress reactions will take over. If you can view the situation as a challenge, it is then possible take the constructive action that will benefit you. Make a commitment to yourself to find the opportunity in a problem situation. Take control. You are in charge of your own reactions. When you manage change more effectively, you decide your own future.