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The face of change at NC State

If there is one constant at NC State University, it’s change.

Students change. Faculty members change. Courses and graduation requirements change.

We can’t do a lot about change and most of us don’t like it. We dislike change so much that we may resist it and that just adds to the stress of day-to-day life.

Understanding how change affects our lives can help reduce that stress and make change work for us.

A good friend back in Florida, Ron Kirsch,  Executive Director of the Leadership Development Institute in Gainesville, speaks about change on a regular basis and he explains that we all go through phases when dealing with change:

React. When things change, our first reaction is shock and denial.

Denial is a coping mechanism. We approach change with the attitude that if we ignore change and wait long enough, it will go away and things will get back to normal.

Reflect. Even when we perceive that it won’t go away, we still believe that things worked better before the change. So we try to bargain for reinstating the old system. We reflect on the “good old days.”

Reality eventually steps in and we realize that change is here to stay. We have to acknowledge that before moving forward.

Renew. We begin to let go, to see the value of what is coming and we actually begin looking for ways to help make change work for us. Our faith is renewed

Managing change successfully starts with new goals and a plan.

You know where you are and where you want to be. Now decide how you are going to get there.

Clarify goals and expectations. Get feedback from others. Start with small, deliberate steps and reward yourself often. Keep focused on the desired outcome.

Because we’re in the midst of lots of big changes in higher education and  here at NC State I think it’s good to reflect upon how we deal with change personally and as an institution.   Having a better understanding of the change process is an important element in taking advantage of change and using it to benefit us and our institution.

Passion Rules!

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1 comment

1 Jane Albright { 12.16.09 at 12:15 pm }

LOVE change. Guess I’m easily bored.

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