Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Take Control Of How You Respond To Opportunities

This post is long over-due. I spent most of this month managing change at work, holding the hands of colleagues as they managed change at work, and generally, just  being there for what mattered at that moment – my team members.


Change Is Difficult


Change is always difficult.  I have seen so many changes throughout my career and none have been pleasant. A few of these changes had put undue stress  and anxiety on my family and I, so I could understand the stress and anxiety some of my colleagues had to go through when changes get hurled through the window at them.  



Be Open


However, I also remembered that each of these changes opened the door to new opportunities for me, the minute I could summon the courage to open my heart and mind to closing the door to the past behind me, and embracing new experiences.   When I made the decision to leave a local bank I had worked for many years ago, it was a decision made in an environment of a change of management.  It was not the new boss that had determined my decision to leave.  It was my new boss’ decision to change my role to one that did not offer me the potential for growth and development that did.  So without turning back, that decision, landed me at one of the best companies I had ever worked for, American Express, and my experience there was critical to my growth as a marketing professional in a large corporate MNC.   I had never quite cut my ties off that local bank because  my former boss, Laurel, who had recruited me into her team had become my mentor today and she had even held my hands through every up and down I had faced right through to walking me down the aisle at my second wedding.  Beyond teaching me to be a good brand marketing and communications professional, she was the one responsible for teaching me how to not be a boss, but to be a real manager  and a real leader..  She did not give me the wings to fly.  She showed me that I had the wings to fly.  And I did.  


Take Control


That was not my only experience of change.  Throughout the rest of my career, even more changes came.  When I joined another local bank, again I was faced with numerous changes that threw my team and I into a murky pool of uncertainties.  I was older and more experienced then, and I was the country marketing head of the bank.  This time, I was adamant that I was not going to leave the bank for a frivolous reason like a difficult boss.  My rationale was that wherever one might work at, there would always be one or two difficult persons one would have to manage.  I had decided then to take control of the situation.  When my boss became unreasonable and made decisions that I felt would negatively impact our brand, I had decided to go to the chairman.  And I was so thankful that I did.  The chairman became my mentor, and he guided me with his axiom, “Our people are the fabric of my bank.  It was built on their blood, sweat and tears.  That is why we must always take care of our own people. The success of my bank depends on them.”  I carried that mantra with me throughout the rest of my career.   My staff are very important to me. Their well-being, their happiness, their growth and their development are all as much my responsibility as they are theirs.  My success today is attributed to a great team who put so much hard work, dedication and thought leadership into everything they did.  


Managing Change


So that brings me to the changes that I am facing today at work.  These changes were initially uncomfortable for some of my team members as much as they were for me.  However, most importantly,  I had  opened my heart and mind to the potential that these changes could help hone their respective skills and experience.  If these changes could be a positive impact in helping them grow and develop even more, I was all for it and I know that they have built enough strength and resilience enough to manage these changes in the months to come.


Courage And Adaptability


Today, I evaluated my response to these changes.  I felt very proud of myself for having come a long way in my career enough to be truly opened to changes.  I could point this to age and career experience.  However, the truth is, I became a lot more mindful because I was mentored by the right people.   I can name the few bosses who had been catalysts of change themselves and who had been my mentors and friends when I had the privilege of working for them.  They were Laurel, Chairman Wee, Stuart and Paul.   Each of them were different in their management styles but all of them had a few qualities that  I had learnt from and carried with me throughout my career – strength, courage, response-ability and adaptability.


Denis Waitley said, “ There are 2 primary choices  in life: to accept conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them”.  However, there is a 3rd choice – You can also choose to accept conditions as they exist, but turn these conditions into an opportunity that can be a positive impact to yourself and others. It does not matter how you carve your opportunities as long as you take control of how you respond to them.  Now, that is true strength, courage, response-ability and adaptability.

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from www.singaporemaven.com.  She is passionate about Muay Thai and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  

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