We’ve all heard the adage: “The only thing constant is change,” yet we often act surprised when things shift focus or direction. One of the most important skills for supervisors is normalizing change and helping teams mentally prepare for things to be altered.

This can occur through intentional language that sets the stage for the future. Projects can be introduced with phrases such as “Let’s start by doing X,” “For now, we’ll…,” “Let’s experiment by…,” “Let’s pilot this,” or “Let’s try by doing…” All those qualifiers help people understand that conditions may change and thus, the project will change with it. They can be useful directions when external factors may influence the project or when working for leadership that has a tendency to change their mind.

You can reduce much of the angst around change by helping yourself and others anticipate it. Set up that expectation from the start.

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