The announcement from Rolls Royce of the loss of 4000 predominantly management jobs is another example of why skills to cope with change are a survival mechanism.
For those losing their jobs, an ability to cope with the upheaval of finding a new role, possibly in a different industry, probably in a different city is a necessity. I was recently with a guy who was serving out his 3 month redundancy period with his employer of the last 20 years. It was sad to see such a capable man without the ability to manage this significant change. He was still in shock months after hearing he would be let go. He did not have the ability to process the information so had retreated to the common defence mechanism of being in denial. He had no sense of urgency about making plans, letting contacts know he was available for work because he could not conceive that the change was actually going to happen.
Working with him and explaining how the brain fights to keep things the same and the likely emotions he will experience as he transitions to a new lifestyle gave him back some of his power. By understanding that what he was experiencing is part of a process enabled him to see what is likely to happen next so he could prepare for it.
Equally those that remain at Rolls Royce need skills in leading themselves and others through change. Their CEO, Warren East has expressed frustration at the slow pace of change within Rolls Royce so clearly the ability to innovate and shorten the time between having an idea and getting it into practice are going to be key to future success.
Knowledge of a simple lifecycle of change (Awareness; Participation; Adoption for example) along with the techniques to generate support for the change, checklists of activities to move the change from concept to practical reality and an appreciation of who needs to do what and when are essential business skills. Whatever your job title, ability to manage change is a key competence and is implicitly expected, even if no-one has explicitly stated that this is part of your role. We all manage change every day, so take the time to step back and consider the changes you have led and how you can improve the next time you are part of a team needed to make improvements.
Rolls Royce are not alone. This story can be written about any industry in any country right now. In my own work I am developing the capability for change in education, public services, utilities and retail.
Make no mistake, understanding change is a personal and a career survival mechanism.
If you want my help to build these skills for yourself or your team, get in touch or join my next Change Management Practitioner course with the added bonus that you not only learn change skills but you get a qualification for your CV as well.