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At times everyone faces change that is out of their control. People have the choice to view it as a setback, a disappointment, or an opportunity. The most important thing to do when change is not a choice is, first, to recognize that our feelings reflect our thinking, and, second, to listen to those feelings. Our thinking drives our feelings, and not the other way around. Therefore, people need to take responsibility for how they think about and respond to situations that are out of their control. The job of a leader is to help others do the same. What matters most is the ability to move forward and thrive. The following steps are helpful in dealing with change that is not a choice; people should:


*Slow down and consciously separate emotion from response; think about how to respond.

*Acknowledge reality and use understanding to reframe thinking.

*Recognize the challenges. A quick decision to move forward does not minimize the time and effort required to do so.

*Take stock and objectively define what has changed and what has not.

*Explore a different future by asking questions that will lead to unique opportunities.

*Take baby steps.

*Look for every opportunity to celebrate behavior that moves toward a new beginning.

Leaders are often charged with communicating and implementing changes that they did not choose and with which they do not agree. Supporting the organization’s goals and decisions is part of the job of leaders. They can use the following six tips when formulating and delivering their messages:

*Focus on the facts.

*Acknowledge the truth, and do not throw others under the bus.

*Listen and understand without agreeing.

*Focus others on what they can control.

*Create the expectations for the future.

*Seek, suggest, or offer help when appropriate.

Leaders need to remember that they are leaders in an organization and not candidates in a popularity contest. They do not have to justify their decisions to support their leadership teams’ decisions.

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