One of the roles we attach to human resources is the role of “change agent”. HR needs to help their organizations manage change. It makes sense. Business is changing all the time – new innovations, new expectations, etc. Recently, it has occurred to me that if we want to be successful as a change agent, then we need to know how to successfully manage change ourselves.
Yes, I know – it sounds very obvious. But in reality, it’s not. Being able to manage our own change is hard. But it does raise the question, if we can’t handle change in our lives, how can we tell our organizations to buck it up and embrace change. I can’t help but feel it sounds hypocritical. “Me? I can’t embrace change but by gosh, the rest of you need to.”
During the opening general session at SHRM’s Annual Conference and Expo, I had the chance to hear Heather Abbott talk about how managing personal change has helped her become a better human resources professional. Heather learned firsthand about the challenges of change when she was injured during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. She lost part of her leg in the incident. Heather shared her secrets for managing change with the conference crowd:
- Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. I know it’s easy to say and I’m guilty of it at times myself. But in order for us to successfully manage change, we must realize there are things we can and cannot control. And we should understand which is which.
- Let it go and move on. Heather shared that there were times when she said, “Why me?” but she knew that the key to moving forward was letting the past be the past. Even if sometimes we don’t have all the answers.
- Rely on others then pay it forward. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, it’s a sign of strength to learn from others. Heather said that she is sharing what’s she has learned about amputee support with others.
[Tweet “Put yourself in a position so good things can happen to you. – Robin Roberts”]
After hearing Heather’s inspirational message, Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts took the stage to tell her story. One thing she said really stuck. “Put yourself in a position so good things can happen to you.” It reminded me that life isn’t always easy or kind, but if we’re always trying to position ourselves for good things…that could be the best strategy to manage the change in our lives.1