Change can be as Volatile as the Stock Market. Here’s How to Ride the Waves

“Listen Jeff, investing is risky. There could be losses along the way. But what you need to know is that in the long run the market always goes up.” I’ve never forgotten that nugget of wisdom from my first financial advisor, Gerry. He ensured I understood that the journey to retirement could be very bumpy. I was putting my life (savings) in someone else’s hands, a move that would make anyone nervous. Sounds like change.

The stock market dips and drops regularly. We have been living in some of the most volatile times where tariffs seem random and a single tweet can move millions. Even so, there are patterns we can observe and predict. It’s not an exact science, but there are clear signs and signals when trouble is on the horizon.

It’s a great metaphor for change management. We can’t foretell everything that will happen during our journey to a new future, but we use behavioral science and experience to predict where changes may go off the rails and use proven strategies to prepare and mitigate risk.

So what happens when the market of change begins to drop? What can we do when our program is getting off track? Gerry taught me something else. People often sell off too fast when the market dips. Fear drives them. In change, people run for the hills when they can’t clearly see a positive future or it looks like failure is around the corner. A strong does of credibility and clarity will help people stay invested during a tough transition:

  • What has generated success in the past? How can that help us continue to be successful?
  • What do we have going in our favour?
  • Even with a setback, what is the overall trend? Are we headed in the right direction?
  • What is working elsewhere, for competitors or similar players in other markets?
  • How are the leaders personally invested in the change? Are they leading by example?
  • Can leaders paint a picture of a feasible, positive future?

Markets are volatile. So is change. When employees are asked to ‘get on board’ with a new change, they are being asked to put their futures in the hands of their leaders. Employees want to make wise investment decisions with their time and energy. Show them what they can count on and where they are going. Paint a picture of success!

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper
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Jeff Skipper
Jeff Skipper is an expert in accelerating change. Clients such as Shell, Goldman Sachs and The Salvation Army have engaged him to achieve dramatic results during strategic transformation by wrapping complex change in motivating mission. He has been quoted in Fast Company, Forbes and HP’s enterprise.nxt. Jeff holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and is a Certified Change Management Professional.