Corporate employees typically follow one of four decision-making styles: analytical, directive, conceptual, and behavioral. These four styles, described in a book by Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason,3 have the following characteristics:
Analytical Style - technical, logical, careful, methodical, needs much data, likes order, enjoysproblem-solving, enjoys structure, enjoys scientific study, and enjoys working alone. Conceptual Style - creative and artistic, future oriented, likes to brainstorm, wants independence, uses judgment, optimistic, uses ideas vs. data, looks at the big picture, rebellious and opinionated, and committed to principles or a vision. Behavioral Style - supportive of others, empathetic, wants affiliation, nurturesothers, communicates easily, uses instinct, avoids stress, avoids conflict, relies on feelings instead of data, and enjoys team/group efforts. Directive Style - aggressive, acts rapidly, takes charge, persuasive and/or is manipulative, uses rules, needs power/status, impatient, productive, single-minded, and enjoys individual achievements.
Read once more through these descriptions and identify whichstyle best describes you. Then find and study the strategy people who share your style follow to cope with change:
Analytical coping strategy - You see change as a challenging puzzle to be solved. You need plenty of time to gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. You will resist change if you are not given enough time to think it through. Conceptual coping strategy - You areinterested in how change fits into the big picture. You want to be involved in defining what needs to change and why. You will resist change if you feel excluded from participating in the change process. Behavioral coping strategy - You want to know how everyone feels about the changes ahead. You work best when you know that the whole group is supportive of each other and that everyone champions thechange process. If the change adversely affects someone in the group, you will perceive change as a crisis. Directive coping strategy - You want specifics on how the change will affect you and what your own role will be during the change process. If you know the rules of the change process and the desired outcome, you will act rapidly and aggressively to achieve change goals. You resist change ifthe rules or anticipated results are not clearly defined.
Realizing what our normal decision-making style is, can enable us to develop personal change-coping tactics.
How can we cope with change?
1. Get the big picture. - Sometimes, not only do we miss the forest because of the trees, but we don't even see the tree because we're focused on the wood. Attaining a larger perspective can help all ofus to cope with change, not just the conceptualists. The changes underway at my company are clearly following at least four important trends, which I believe are probably reflective of businesses in general:
* Away from localized work toward network-based work,
* Away from a feast-or-famine working environment toward a routinely busy working environment,
* Away from site-limitedapproaches toward approaches that are consistent company-wide, and
* Away from vertical, top-down management toward a more horizontal management structure, with shared accountability.
Getting at least this much comprehension of the big picture will help us to understand where each of us fits.
2. Do some anchoring. - When everything around you is in a state of flux, it sure helps to findsomething stable that isn't going to change, no matter what. Your company's values (whether articulated or not) can provide that kind of stability for you. Ours include the Company Family, Focus on the Customer, Be Committed to Quality, and Maintain Mutual Respect. These values are rock-solid; they are not going to disappear or rearrange themselves into something else. Plus, each of us has personal...