Jun 072008

All Change, by Elsie Esq. It’s amazing how often small, seemingly innocuous words in the English language can be harbingers of much bigger things. Death, for example… there’s a small word with potentially huge implications.

Change is another one – small, unassuming, and for a lot of people utterly terrifying. We tend to be comfortable with constants – they’re safe and predictable; when things stay the same we feel secure, it’s the unknown that scares us… and venturing into the unknown is all part and parcel of change.

In today’s dynamic, high paced workplace, change is often the only real constant you’ll find. With the internet, connectivity, collaboration and interaction disrupting the accepted norms across a wide array of industries and sectors, nothing in business today seems to stay the same for very long.

The pace of change can be daunting. Sometimes it seems that no sooner have you acquired a new skill than it’s becoming obsolete. But I’ll let you into a little secret… this rapid pace of change is good for your career, as long as you’re ready to embrace it. With every change comes opportunity – to learn something new, do something different or develop in some way. If you’re willing to grab those opportunities with both hands, and you can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, then organisational change can be one of your biggest allies when it comes to career development.

As usual there are lessons to be learned from nature. Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, hit the nail on the head when he observed: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

His biological insight makes a seamless transition to the workplace… if there’s one thing that will help your career to flourish, then it’s your ability to embrace and adapt to change. Yes your suite of skills is important, your experience invaluable and your education indispensable – and I’m not trying to belittle any of those things – but all other things being equal your ability to adapt to the changing dynamics of the modern workplace is often the defining characteristic for career success.

Look at some of the most successful people in the world today – are they the brightest, the most talented, the best educated? Some, maybe… but many of them aren’t.

While wealth shouldn’t really be used as a measure of success, in this instance it serves to illustrate a point. A few weeks ago the Sunday Times published its annual Rich List. Flicking through the pages reveals a wide array of people from all walks of life. Some of them are undoubtedly bright, talented and well educated individuals – but that’s probably not what propelled them into the rich list. Pick a random selection and scratch the surface, and what you’ll find that they have in common is unwavering tenacity and self belief, coupled with an amazing capacity to embrace, adapt to and thrive on change.

Take a leaf out of their book, condition yourself to embrace change, step outside of your comfort zones regularly and explore the unknown. When the wind of change blows, and opportunity knocks, you’ll be there, ready and waiting.

Photo Credit: All change, by Elsie esq.

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