Ask Amy — Practical Advice for Supervisors: How Do I Lead My Team Through Organizational Change, Part 3?

A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

It’s no secret that Valencia College is in the midst of organizational change, so I felt that it was important to address this question in a three-part series. If you missed my last columns on this topic, click here to view my February response or here for my March response. For my last post in this series, I’ve invited our change expert, Director of Organizational Design and Development Katie Tagye, to be our guest columnist.

By Katie Tagye, Director of Organizational Design and Development

Like people, organizations experience different cycles. In similar ways to how we experience our growth and sometimes witness our loved ones’ change and develop, those life cycles can have different paces and feel differently, especially during transitions.

New organizations can experience enormous rates of growth as they innovate and iterate quickly to find their niche in the marketplace. At this pace, employees experience the formation of new connections with their customers and within their teams. The work can be quite exciting and fast paced.

After time, successful organizations experience times of stability and slower iterations as the habits and patterns of daily work and of leadership emerge to sustain them. In those periods, we may be better able to anticipate what our work days will be like and who we might need to collaborate with to accomplish different tasks. Our goals can seem quite clear. In these stable times, we may only experience modest adjustments and change. While those periods might stretch for a number of years, successful organizations will experience a new period of change and development to meet new demands. As we experience the change of this new period, it isn’t surprising that some employees may feel unsettled. As the organization develops, work might become less predictable and may require different kinds of innovation, collaboration and perspectives.

This type of change — in ways of working and with whom we work — can bring about great breakthroughs to support the needs of the future. You may have heard colleagues and leaders at Valencia College say, “what has gotten us to where we are now won’t alone get us to where we’ll need to be in the future.” I bet you can think of an example of when this was true here at Valencia and for any organization where you’ve spent some time. Recognizing that change is a normal, necessary part of our development as an organization can help sustain us during periods of uncertainty.

Think about your own life development and experiences. If you draw a line as you look back, you’ll likely find that there are places of peaks, places with valleys and perhaps some places with unexpected curves. However, if you’re like most people, when we project our paths into the future, we seem to imagine it looking like a straight, clear path. More often than not, this is not the case, and we will experience more peaks and valleys as we develop. This pattern of both reflection and projection are not unlike our organization’s development.

So, it helps for me to remember when I’m experiencing normal organizational transitions that this new direction will teach me more lessons, help me connect with new colleagues, and will, eventually, be a place where I can again reminisce with nostalgia. The change we are experiencing right now is part of the future we are working to create, and a straight, even path is unlikely to emerge as the most impactful way forward. But as we have seen before, I believe that we will continue to support our history of working together to develop our organization to what is needed next.

Ask Amy” is designed to provide supervisors with guidance to successfully navigate opportunities and challenges in your daily work, as you create a culture for employee success within your teams. Each month, I, along with featured guest contributors, will address a question and offer practical solutions from which all supervisors can benefit.

If you would like to ask a question, simply email me with “Ask Amy” in the subject line. Submissions will be included anonymously in the Supervisor Segment and The Grove, and will be addressed monthly as they are received.

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