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Updated Apr 25, 2023

How to Turn Change Management Into Personal Development

Here's how to utilize change management to fuel personal development.

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Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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Change can be both intimidating and beneficial, but by applying change management, you can reap the benefits of such shifts. Being able to manage change successfully can encourage employees’ self-discovery and personal development. Companies can help facilitate this skill through change management. When implemented correctly, employees become open to change, and companies can use it to encourage business leaders and their employees to collaborate on company goals. Here’s how to utilize change management to fuel such personal development. [Read how employee monitoring software can benefit your remote and in-office teams.]

What is change management?

Change management includes the systematic methods and manners in which a company creates and establishes change both internally and externally, including its processes, technology and goals. This is completed by preparing and supporting employees and monitoring various activities to ensure successful implementation. Significant organizational change can be a bit challenging, and it often requires cooperation on several levels and involves many people within the business. 

Changes in corporations sometimes fail because organizational leaders don’t address the healthy, real and predictable reactions of employees, who experience a sudden disruption of their routines. By incorporating a supportive environment in which employees can embrace and adopt changes little by little through change management, businesses are more likely to thrive. 

To implement change management, the business must define the change, implement the change in stages, collect/analyze data and modify the plan as needed, and return to the implementation step. If any employee resists the change, there are ways to navigate the situation. The reason for change can be established by explaining why a new way is necessary. Then the company can shape the vision, mobilize commitment and finish the job. [Read how to set employee performance goals.]

How can change management fuel personal development?

For any change to be successful, an organization must manage any alterations made. Traditional approaches often ignore the stress and anxiety change can cause. Organizational leaders must pinpoint what their employees might need as these changes are made; this will help them grow and reach their goals. Always prioritize people above processes. 

Regardless of role, change impacts everyone in an organization. For some, the idea of change can be intimidating. For others, however, change could positively affect them by motivating them toward personal development. Change is personal, and it is important for organizations to develop a nurturing environment in which employees are encouraged to embrace change. 

To help create leaders, employers should adopt change management strategies that help employees to conquer their fear of new things and see change as an opportunity for professional and personal development. For people to overcome their fears, they need clarity on their goals and what changes they will need to make to achieve them. Change management plans should target helping people see the benefits of the change and not focus on the negative aspects. Self-development is largely about understanding strengths and weaknesses, as well as emotions. The process of change through self-development includes trial and error, as mistakes and failures are part of the journey toward self-improvement. 

To motivate someone toward change, you need to know all about them: the way they think, what motivates them and what they want. Once you can understand a person’s perspective, it’ll be easier to offer them more personalized solutions. It can be difficult to start, but when leaders facilitate an atmosphere in which employees can share their feelings, it helps drive the organization to the desired change.

Bottom LineBottom line
Make sure organizational leaders are assisting affected employees at every step of the change process.

What are the dos and don’ts of change management and personal development?

Do make personal changes.

The best way to handle change at work is to change yourself. Change does not mean that you wear different clothes or reconfigure your workplace. You change yourself by putting the focus on the present. This type of change focuses on personal development that helps you redefine yourself and the way you connect to work. The goal for you during change is to let go of your reactions and instead put your energy toward the things you can control. The focus is on developing yourself while working through the challenge of doing something new.

Don’t compromise your own values and beliefs.

The goal of behaviors in personal development is not to give up your identity or beliefs during the change, but to find beneficial ways to integrate yourself into the new environment. The more you practice this behavior shift, the better chance you have of finding peace within the new work environment. It is valid not to like the way something has changed. Your personal development comes from moving from disappointment or frustration to behaviors that support you within the new reality.

Choose a few words to describe who you want to be as a person, such as helpful, efficient or friendly. These words help you focus on yourself in the change. Use them as motivational words to maintain your behavior during change. When you are challenged by changes, keep these chosen behaviors aligned with your thoughts, words and actions. A disconnection between thoughts, words and actions can affect your authenticity.

FYIDid you know
It is important not to compromise your identity for organizational change. Instead, work on finding beneficial ways to involve yourself in the change.

Do challenge yourself.

One important element you control includes your behavior. Behavior encompasses the management of thoughts, words and actions. The way you think about work can take energy, especially in a place of change. Instead of thinking in terms of wrong or bad, try to become objective in the way you handle change at work. Challenge yourself to think, talk and act in a way that supports who you want to be as a person.

Even with challenges in change, you can keep a personal focus that allows you to maintain a constant level of professionalism. For example, if the company moves from customer service practices that accept ratings of 8 out of 10 instead of 9 out of 10 on customer satisfaction surveys because the change doesn’t impact the bottom line, you can find ways to maintain the level of your customer service within the context of the company. A friendly tone and helpful attitude can go a long way toward customer satisfaction despite the new policy. Managing behavior in this way becomes a useful skill to achieve, especially during times of change.

Don’t focus on the negatives.

Don’t focus on what is wrong with the change; focus on how you can present yourself in this new environment. Rethink the idea that the change will not be the best way to do the work. You can address your discomfort by looking for new ways to think, speak and act about the change. 

Do identify new skills you’d like to develop.

Developing new skills can also give you an edge in the changing landscape of business. Take some time to evaluate the skills you currently have and find ways to integrate them into the new way of doing business. You can also determine if there are other skills that you should obtain to build on your current collection. Use this time of change to grow your skill set. Personal development helps you use change as an opportunity to enhance your business portfolio and keep the focus on how you connect to the organization.

Don’t stop looking for ways to learn.

You can also take time to learn new information and trends. Vanessa King, a psychology expert at Action for Happiness, identified learning as a core need for psychological well-being. Education can help you build confidence, become more cohesive in the way you approach situations and connect with others. King suggests that human beings have an inherent desire to seek mastery. Learning can also fuel creativity, allowing you to find connections between seemingly unrelated situations or relationships. Education can lead to personal development. The more you study a given topic, the better able you are to expand the way you do business. For example, if you are concerned about corporate culture in an organization, reading about culture can help you find new ways to support corporate culture. Learning more information makes you better prepared to deal with events.

Do be a calming force.

When you remain steady with your behavior and show individuals around you that you are calm, even in the face of change, you demonstrate the strength of commitment to personal development in the face of challenges. Advancing your knowledge helps you explore new ways of working and find connections that could help make you and other people in the workplace successful. The constant in any change can be you.

TipBottom line
Emotions may run high among affected employees. As a leader, it is important to keep emotions in check and ensure that any problems or issues can be resolved in a professional manner.

Don’t be resistant to change.

There is a pattern for what we perceive as normal and comfortable. When that pattern disappears, your brain feels lost and responds by trying to recover that feeling of safety. The rules and relationships that defined your work and the company for many years may have been replaced with a different set of rules and relationships. Some people may respond by vehemently resisting change. Others may silently curse the change and try to create a negative atmosphere. Getting another job is yet another alternative. When you focus on professional development during times of change, you build resilience within yourself so that you are prepared for any changes that come your way.

Additional reporting by Lynette Reed.

author image
Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Sean Peek co-founded and self-funded a small business that's grown to include more than a dozen dedicated team members. Over the years, he's become adept at navigating the intricacies of bootstrapping a new business, overseeing day-to-day operations, utilizing process automation to increase efficiencies and cut costs, and leading a small workforce. This journey has afforded him a profound understanding of the B2B landscape and the critical challenges business owners face as they start and grow their enterprises today. In addition to running his own business, Peek shares his firsthand experiences and vast knowledge to support fellow entrepreneurs, offering guidance on everything from business software to marketing strategies to HR management. In fact, his expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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