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Jesse Jacoby

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How to Increase Your Personal Change Agility

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We often think of change as something that happens to other people. But, how effective are you personally at dealing with change? The people appointed to lead organizational change efforts sometimes have a skewed perception of their own ability to handle change. Below are a few simple principles that you can employ to enhance your personal change capacity. If you’d like understand you and your team’s personal adaptability to change, take our Self-Assessment of Personal Change Agility.

Choose Your Response

In his book Success Principles, Jack Canfield presents the equation, E+R=O, which stands for Event + Response = Outcome. In a nutshell, it says when you have an event (good or bad), your response to that event will determine the outcome. Rarely can you determine the event, but you do have the ability to choose your response in every situation.

For example, if you learn that your business function is being restructured and as a result your job is threatened, you have choices for how to handle it. You could avoid dealing with change by having a drink and de-stressing. Alternatively, you could take immediate action by letting colleagues in other divisions know that you are considering new roles, calling past employers, updating your resume, etc. That kind of response will increase your odds in finding a new role sooner. Take full responsibility for your situation and know you have the capacity to change your outcome to a better result.

Focus on the Positive

When a transition occurs, be sure to keep your thoughts on what you can control. Keeping your focus on what has happened (or happening) to you will not help you get to where you need to be. Assuming the change is not a positive event, keeping your focus on where you want to be – your ultimate goal – will increase the odds of you dealing with change. The biggest lever you have is your attitude. When you have an attitude that embraces change, rather than resisting change it gives you the ability to work with whatever comes your way.

Seek Inner Security

Security is one of the foundational components of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. It’s the belief that you can handle any change that comes your way and knowing that you will be okay. If you lose your job, and it shakes your life to the core, then your security lies with the job or money. Those are external factors, which will not give you true security. Of course money is important, but losing a job is only a temporary setback for those who have inner security. Some people believe that inner security is a skill that you develop or something that you’re born with. But, in reality, inner security is a choice that you make.

Reach Out to Others

When dealing with a change that you believe is too big to handle, enlist the help of other people – trusted friends, co-workers, or support groups. They can offer insights, comfort, and support that you cannot do for yourself. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked.

>> Download the Self-Assessment of Personal Change Agility

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Jesse Jacoby
The Editor of Emergent Journal and founder of Emergent, Jesse is a recognized expert in business transformation. He and his team partner with Fortune 500 and mid-market companies to deliver successful people and change strategies. Jesse is the creator of the Accelerating Change & Transformation (ACT) model and developer of Change Accelerator and Savvy Transition. Contact Jesse at 303-883-5941 or

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