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Fortnightly Hacks: 'how to move through difficult workplace changes' edition


We're a group of experts here. For the first half of August, I'd love to discuss what hacks you have in working through difficult changes. 

  • Do you utilize support networks at work or at home? How do you develop those?
  • Do you remind yourself of end goals versus temporary states?
  • Do you make sure to elevate what's on your mind with your manager or leadership?

Tell us. How do you work through difficult changes at work?


Kishan Sharma Community Leader Aug 01, 2021

Thanks for initiating this discussion @Christine P_ Dela Rosa

If there's a change in the workplace, we have to accept it and move forward. We should take it as a new opportunity to learn. Talk to your manager, set some goals and prepare an action plan to make the most of the change to develop yourself and help others if anyone is finding it difficult to cope up with the change.

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I like that your response is all about reframing, @Kishan Sharma. In other words, the change is the same, but we can choose to take advantage of the change or ignore it and face those consequences. Awesome.

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Hi @Christine P_ Dela Rosa 

Change is generally unwelcome in organisations, but with support from the people in charge and a team willing to help, it is always easier to face the challenges, fortunately I have both. 😊

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

With both support from leadership and your team, I'm excited to learn more from you on how that impacts changes in your organisation, @Paloma Fondon Araujo. I'll look at your future posts in this group to see if there are any differences between your comments and others to see if your environment's support makes the difference. And I bet it will ;)

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Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Aug 03, 2021

At this stage in my career, I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a veteran, but have seen a couple of difficult changes both inside and outside of Atlassian. 

  • Do you utilize support networks at work or at home? How do you develop those?

The most successful folks utilize both types of networks. At home, it might be as simple as having a talk with a partner - even if they can't offer advice pertinent to the situation, hopefully they know you well enough to ask questions about what would make you happy or offer some general comfort. At work, talking through the change with teammates that are affected to get their opinion and commiserate with them. If you can, also talk with someone not affected by the change but still in your company. They can offer some stability during the change and give perspective to help you see the positive past the temporary. And in the in-between, lean on your former co-workers or friends outside your company but still in your industry to get some wider perspective. Difficult changes sometimes mean career shifts, and those friends might have the insight you need to step out of your comfort zone. They don't have skin in the game keeping you at your current job or company, should the situation require a dramatic change for you.

  • Do you remind yourself of end goals versus temporary states?

You have to think about end goals, or you quit! Hard changes (canceling a project, big shift in leadership, etc) are one of those big watershed moments in a company where you expect high turnover. If you don't love your job or working at that company, not thinking about that is going ensure you focus more on the temporary hardship, and feel bummed out. Maybe the worst thing that can happen here is that someone gets stuck on the present and also doesn't make a job change. That situation and the hardship around it might stick around, and then you have an unhappy employee and teammates who notice a salty person.

  • Do you make sure to elevate what's on your mind with your manager or leadership?

The most successful companies provide resources during hard times. They don't just accept feedback to management and leadership, they encourage it during hard times. Tell employees early and often that they can talk to management at any time. Put faces on who they can reach out to. Make sure they know you'll talk to them on Slack, Teams, etc. as well as taking walk-ups. Fostering a culture of providing feedback (at Atlassian, this is Open Company, no BS ) lets people feel heard at times like this, and helps people overcome the barrier of just saying something. It's on both the employer and employee to make this successful. But as an employer - you're only setting your teams up for failure if you don't encourage people to speak up.

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Hi @Daniel Eads ,

Love that you mention finding people who are not involved in whatever is difficult at work. I often think of "personal networks" as the people who aren't involved in work issues, but there may be people at work who are unaffected and may be able to make space for you as well. 

And as for elevating issues, I definitely hear that. It's not always easy, even for the most open companies, but I like that you put a bit of the onus on leadership of a company, to provide feedback mechanisms. Otherwise, it's a lot of courage and reliance on individuals to fend for themselves. 

Regarding a way to keep yourself motivated through tough times, personally, I try my best to think about end goals. And that shows up in me simply re-establishing what I want to ensure that my goals haven't changed. Or, it may be me affirming what my long-run end game looks like by speaking those outcomes out loud to another person. Curious: what are ways that you keep yourself focused on the big picture to not get caught up on temporary difficulties? 

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Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Aug 04, 2021

Currently it's very easy to focus on the big picture. I'm in a customer-facing role, and Atlassian has the best customer fanbase out of any company I've encountered. We've got people with for-real Atlassian tattoos! For me, helping these folks is enough to overcome temporary difficulties. I know what I can do is important to them, and the way they vocally express gratitude helps me feel appreciated. The connection on a personal level is very rewarding.

Atlassian-wide, we've got some kick-ass company customers and checking out that list is a good reminder of the importance of our work. When I hear quotes like "we couldn't build super-awesome-tech-thing® without Atlassian software", it again focuses on the bigger picture. Why am I working here? Why do we care so much about helping customers? Because the companies we empower are making the world a better place, curing diseases, advancing humanity, helping others...

Some folks might be solely motivated by a paycheck. I get that - especially if you're providing for a family or primarily working to have funds to donate to causes. The problem with that being the sole motivation is that you can, and should take whatever opportunity arises somewhere else to increase your pay, because that's meeting your goal. But for most people and definitely for myself, the daily work I do is part of how I make the world better - not only through donations. Finding a company and a role that gives you opportunity to do that is important then. And going hand-in-hand with that, company leadership should make it easy to see the impact of the company (and individual) work to make the world better if they want to retain those altruists!

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

1. I'm with you when I say Atlassian has a stellar customer fanbase. Just look at this Community for example! Folks are there to help, not only their own teams, but other companies, too! 

2. The major takeaway on improving motivation from your response, is that there needs to be a connection to impact. And that can happen via leadership acknowledgment, documentation, or individual consciousness to keep that top of mind. 

This^ is something I think every individual, team, and company, can increase. And the more that happens, the more these changes will mitigate emotional difficulties, hopefully, because the ultimate impact trumps temporary feelings. That's the dream!

Like Daniel Eads likes this

@Christine P_ Dela Rosa - Thanks for initiating another excellent  discussion.

Change is evident in this ever changing world and workplace should not be an exception. Now, I think there might be cases where people are not quite keen to move out of comfort zone and accept new challenges. I think the most crucial step in this entire transition is owning and nurturing a mindset which loves effective and efficient changes and be prepared for that.



Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Yes, I'm with you with maintaining an open mindset, @Suvradip Paul !

How do you set that mindset? Or if that comes naturally, how do you encourage that with others?

To be honest - It comes to me naturally @Christine P_ Dela Rosa ! I often encourage people with having offline discussions on a change that does not directly impact people but assuming they are getting impacted then what and how things need to be done. I think it opens up people about changes and their mindset to accept changes.


Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Of course it comes naturally to you, @Suvradip Paul have that kind of energy wink

As for having offline discussions with team members, I think that's helpful. That's more personal and might feel more genuine than the blanket generalizations made in announcements that sometimes try to do the same thing.

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Thanks @Christine P_ Dela Rosa for your kind words. 

Yes, that's right. I might term this as 'Constructive Coffee Breaks' :).


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Alex Koxaras Community Leader Aug 05, 2021

I think that there are many people going through what you currently are, and have overcome this obstacle. My escape was to focus on (with no particular order):

  • People who actually liked me
  • My higher goal
  • Comfort of loving what I was doing
  • Learning new things about Jira! (honestly, on a previous job position, that was one of my escape things)

I really hope that you will escape from this situation and that you will be able to move along.

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Thanks for the kind words, @Alex Koxaras. I'm doing all right. But I know this is a common topic for others, so I thought I'd crowdsource a discussion on what helps so that those in need of answers can learn from this discussion.

Your suggestions are great!


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