I recently coached a colleague through the range of emotions and potential actions as a result of a major organizational change. She was wrestling with the implications of the new structure and what that means for her. One of my suggestions was that she keeps track of her feelings and behaviors so that at a later date she is able to review them and have the benefit of perspective.

Rather than approach her task as a diarist, I also encouraged her to make notes like a journalist or researcher – collecting relevant pain points and moments of pride that could be assembled into a case study or teaching scenario in another setting. The outside perspective may add some objectivity into her data collection and help document the roller coaster ride more fairly.

This doesn’t need to be a lofty process; rather just making a note or two when something of significance happens – the good, bad and ugly. By collecting these pieces, she will have the ability to assess the whole and hopefully gain some clarity as to what her next action should be. The change and how it was handled was a big negative, but do a compilation of small things throughout the coming months offset that? It’s hard to know in the moment, but much easier to see when in writing and when noted in the moment instead of by recollection.

The next time you are facing a dilemma, see if approaching it from a third-party perspective doesn’t help you. What would someone from the outside looking in highlight about your situation? Can you use your experience – whether a success or challenge – to enlighten someone else? Are there steps you can take to infuse some distance between the heat of the moment and making meaning of the action?

Whether you grab a notebook, computer or app on your phone, treat a major change like you are an explorer out discovering new lands and keep track of the little things along the way. Later, it will help you make sense of the journey.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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