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October 2, 2013
Kick-Start Change
This time last year I wrote an article on “change.” So when I approached the same topic, I admit I hesitated. I saw the irony: another article on change? Might I want to — well — change the subject? But when I started thinking of the many ways my career and environment have changed over the past year, I decided to stay the course.

Why? Change is constant. It’s awesome. It can help one achieve great things. Or it can screw things up to a point where you learn a pretty decent lesson. But change can be terrifying, so at times it’s hard to get in the habit of reassessing and trying new things.

Here are the top ways you can kick-start change, regardless of the season:
  • Change your outlook. Do you find yourself repeatedly asking the question: “Why do they do it this way?” Or making statements like: “This is ridiculous. I don’t understand why (insert your concern here).” Instead of shaking your head in disbelief at the end of those remarks, answer the question or respond to the statement. Wrack your brain for any and every response, and if you can’t think of one, set up a meeting with the person who might be able to shed light on the issue. A recurring negative outlook weakens your resolve and motivation, and will affect those around you, too.
  • Change your team. I’m not saying fire everyone. Sit down with your team members for a career chat every now and then. Learn what they think, not only about their current role, but what they might be seeking to explore in the future. Determine whether you can help in their quest to learn or do something new, to craft new goals that could benefit both your people as well as the business.  Evolve your structure.
  • Change your role. So you’ve asked everyone around you what they may want to do differently; turn that question on yourself. The response doesn’t have to be as herculean as going to back school for your Master’s Degree (although it’s a great option!). But if there’s been something you’ve wanted to take on, consider what you might delegate to free up an hour for a webinar or a brainstorming session with a mentor, or even just to read a new trade publication. You don’t have to get to your next opportunity overnight; think of small adjustments to your daily responsibilities to start your journey.
  • Change your desk. Carve out a half hour of your day, maybe during lunch, to clean your desk and drawers. Throw out things you no longer need, pass information to others who can benefit or use it. Cleaning does wonders for your peace of mind (no matter how much you might hate doing it in the process) and can provide you with a sense of renewed focus.
  • Change your balance. Normally I’m pretty task-oriented and will sit until the first draft of my monthly article is on paper before tackling what’s next. But midway through writing this draft on a Sunday morning, I flipped the laptop shut before completion. It was sunny, breezy, and so I decreed it was time for a family walk outside. Our family walk was fantastic. And, of course the article still was written. Life goes on.
The more accustomed to change you become, the better your chances of becoming more comfortable with taking on the unknown. The more comfortable you become, the happier and more ambitious, more curious you can be. Become a person that thrives, that inspires. All it takes is a bit of change.

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Christine Stack joined the media agency MEC in 2011 as Senior Partner, Director-Talent Acquisition; in that role, she is responsible for the creation, development, and delivery of strategies to attract and retain senior-level talent at the agency across North America. She is also a key member of MEC’s Talent executive committee. 
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