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Facing Change Positively

We live in a fast-paced and ever evolving world. With advancements in technology and globalisation it is critical, now more than ever, to be agile and change rapidly and effectively.

When we think about the world of work 10 years ago, there has been unprecedented levels of change. Organisations which haven’t kept up with these changes have found themselves struggling to keep up with their competitors.

Of course, for these organisations and many others there were fundamental changes to their systems and services that needed to be made in order to survive. The same is true when we look at the people of an organisation – organisations can change their systems, but at the same time we need to continually be developing our people and supporting them through change. Organisations should be exploring whether their teams can keep up if they don’t have the resilience? How sustainable would operating without this resilience be?

The people of an organization are what make the company – without them, there simply isn’t a company.  Whilst investing in systems and processes is essential, we need to invest in our people to ensure that we are in the best position to weather any storm. We need to ensure that people are resilient so that high performance of individuals does not come at the cost of their wellbeing, with common negative consequences such as burnout. Building resilience in our people would mean that individuals reshape how they view challenges, therefore providing them more opportunity to face change positively.

Psychological Capital (PsyCap)

When using the word ‘capital’ we associate it with monetary investments such as how we use capital to invest in real estate. Psychologists used this idea with developing what has become known as Psychological Capital (PsyCap) – PsyCap is defined as “an individual’s positive psychological state of development” (Fred Luthans, 2007) and theory suggests that PsyCap is a psychological resource that we can use to invest into tasks. By building PsyCap we have more ‘capital’ to invest into tasks, therefore becoming more resilient in a positive way.

The PsyCap model includes 4 key components:

– Hope – believing you will succeed in the future

– Efficacy – believing you are competent in achieving your goals

– Resilience – being able to overcome barriers

– Optimism – viewing the future with a positive regard

Research has found high levels of PsyCap to be associated with higher levels of productivity, job-satisfaction, life-satisfaction, wellbeing, health and positive pro-active behaviours. Developing just one of the four areas of hope, efficacy, resilience and optimism in employees has a positive effect on the other elements.

It is important to note that PsyCap is buildable. People aren’t born with a set level of PsyCap, and because of the malleable nature of our brain we can increase our levels of PsyCap through utilising the appropriate training.

How to build PsyCap during a period of change

Clearly, building our levels of PsyCap can have some great outcomes. So how can we build PsyCap?

Top tips:

– Improve your goal setting by having goals that are working towards something good rather than away from something bad.

– Break down complex goals to small manageable chunks so you can celebrate small successes. This will increase your levels of hope as you will begin to wire your brain to focus on the positive achievements. This will also increase your self-belief that you are competent in achieving your goals.

– Reframe negative experiences. This touches on the work of Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindsets, where how we perceive situations and obstacles has a huge impact on how to deal with them. Therefore, shifting mindsets to see obstacles as a challenge rather than a setback can build our feeling of competence in overcoming the challenge.

– Find meaning in what you are doing. Meaning is a component of the PERMA model of wellbeing which suggests that increasing our sense of meaning and purpose will build our levels of resilience.