FT: A lot of change is made unilaterally. How do we deal without knowing the “why?” #sachat
Think back to a recent change in your department, division, or university. Were you involved in the decision? Did anyone ask how you felt about it? Depending on your position, the answer is likely “no.”
And really, it’s unrealistic to think that we will be stakeholders in every change that occurs, even if it affects your work. The reason we have administrators and a hierarchy in the workplace is partially that consulting everyone for every decision would be incredibly time consuming! We then have to determine the best way to implement the changes that are passed down to us.
As a person who thrives on details and parameters (converging learning style, anyone?), the lack of “why” sometimes stymies me. I know that I can do a better job of implementing change if I understand the reasons behind it; instead of blindly following new rules, I would bring ideas to my supervisor based on my experience in my position. Especially in higher ed, it feels like there should be an understanding that we are always evolving and that there could be a better way to do something than what has been established.
But what happens when we aren’t going to get any explanation? We grin and bear it, and get on board with the change. We make it know to our supervisors and administrators that we are 100% part of the effort, and try to encourage more open communication the future. We make sure that we give feedback in status meetings about the progress of the change, and try to ascertain what our ultimate goals should be. We trust that the people making the decisions have heard our voices and are making the best choices for our students and our institution. And we strive to be part of the change initiative in the future so we can know the “why.”
Rachel Johnson is the Web Content Developer for the Division of Student Affairs at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. As a part-time MBA student at Weatherhead during her full-time involvement in SA, she hope to combine her personal and professional experiences to help her division grow and change effectively.