New Work: Change is a huge opportunity!

To face changes head on, to test yourself out is not a reaction to a transforming world, but rather an attitude of making your mark on the world.

Yes, it can be exhausting to be open and curious all the time, to face new situations and challenges and not to be able to sit back and allow things to flow or happen to you; it takes strength, commitment and often courage. And yet: this is exactly what brings energy and motivation to forge forwards, explore the world and shape a (professional) life. The whole thing is not a strategic approach or a reaction to a changing world. In my eyes it is an attitude to ‘own’ the world.

Today’s solutions aren’t fitting for tomorrow.

In software programming this is called “permanent beta”. It’s a kind of continuous test mode, in which one always asks oneself “How can I improve my product / the user experience / the usability” – even if it is already working well. It’s not about blindly acting; it’s more about keeping a watchful eye on the constantly changing world and realizing that today’s solution has a limited lifespan. Therefore it is crucial to observe the context, to ask questions, to check facts and to make changes based on what you see.

We need more and more flexibility and personal responsibility.

This approach should also be applied to working life: the world of work around us is changing. Of course, this has always been the case, but in recent years organisations, as well as employees, have had the feeling of being left behind. Shorter and faster cycles of change, fueled by increased globalisation, competition, mechanisation and digitisation are the drivers of this development. It is obvious that the younger generation, digital natives, are doing this far easier, in the main, than older generations. And yet the new world of work brings other challenges for them: temporary contracts or temporary work, expectations of ‘always-on-work’, potential isolation via remote working and others.

Why see everything black?

Of course, we can put our head in the sand and pretend changes don’t apply to us! Or, alternatively, it can be seen as a huge opportunity: If so much is in a state of upheaval, I can time after time design my own way of being and chart my own path. Why shouldn’t we persistently pursue our goals like a child on a voyage of discovery and not be deterred by failures along the road. Even if it takes our strength and resilience to actively face challenges on the way. The self-belief that we achieve in operating in this way provides the ‘engine’ to maintain a confident, positive orientation towards oneself and the environment; even when everything is not successful. So when setbacks and missteps happen, motivation and strength will not be used to give up, but focused on trying different approaches out e.g. a new strategy.

What could this look like in concrete terms?

It looks a little like this; if new digital tools are introduced in my department, then I don’t demonize everything immediately, but I am open to look at it or listen while I have the advantages explained to me. I choose to actually apply the new tool, try it out, even if I still distrust it because it is new.

Or, If I’m given a task that I don’t like or think I cant do then I don’t give up straight away; instead I consider what aspect of this task might be of interest to me and my growth. So I  motivate myself to do the task well and possibly get to know the new topics/methods/tools.

Or even, not covering up problems and mistakes after a project that hasn’t gone well, but to take time to talk to colleagues confidentially about what could have been done differently. Then I would perhaps train myself in the areas identified so I don’t make the same mistakes again.

It is stepping out of your own comfort zone and looking around to see what opportunities are waiting for you “out there”. Sometimes actively deciding that a method/tool/theme field is not for you but it is only after you have tried it; not before.

Change is the chance to get to know something new again and again.

The great art of working in a world of continual change is not to get lost or to follow the latest trends. Here a good connection to one’s own gut feeling can be useful. In addition, you should always check carefully whether an activity makes sense and adds any value. Don’t blindly follow the crowd. Asking these questions at the beginning of a process and using them as a test throughout can help to use energies correctly and prevent disappointment.

Approaching the world in an open and curious way and being ready to acquire knowledge and skills are key building blocks of a positive inner attitude that can work in the new world of work. This is precisely what I mean by “permanent beta”; Motivation and drive to get to know new things and to broaden horizons; deepening, broadening and re-invention.