By Colleen Kettenhofen

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
~ Abraham Maslow

Turn on the television and the talk these days about the never ending economic recession is, well, depressing. Having strategies for managing change is one of the most important skills we can possess in turbulent times. With gas prices going up, the ever-increasing uncertainty with what’s going on globally, plus all the adventures at home, managing change is more important than ever.

What are some sure-fire strategies for managing change in tough times? And managing change in the workplace?

    1. Take action. Fear can paralyze us. In these times of uncertainty, it’s easy to think, “What’s the use,” and freeze. But it’s imperative to do what we don’t feel like doing and take action. For example, taking more classes, reading more books, attending seminars and overall honing our skills. You’ve heard the old adage, “To earn more, you must learn more.” Many people today are not earning more. They’re just trying to hold on to their jobs – or worse – they are out of work. So I like to say, “To stay employed or get a great job, you must learn more than ever before.” Expand your knowledge base. Get training in new areas. Consider taking up a hobby that could turn into a fun part time job. You’ve heard the saying that no one can take away your education. It’s true.


  1. Be service-oriented, ask for feedback, and listen. The workplace has become so competitive that to keep your job (or stay in business) you need to deliver the best product or service in your field. People are looking for value – more than at any other time in recent history. Go the extra mile. How do you do that? Ask your customers for feedback. For example, on a scale of one to ten, how would they rate your product and/or service? And what specifically, if anything, do they think needs improvement?Don’t be afraid to take the risk and ask.Listen to your customers’  answers. Act on it. Right now, some well-known American organizations are hemorrhaging financially partly due to bad management, complacency, and not keeping up with the demands of the marketplace. They’re looking to place the blame on outside circumstances. So ask for feedback and listen. Develop a plan.
  2. In managing change, stop complaining. Yes, you have to give up your membership in the “ain’t it awful” club, and stop making excuses. This is difficult sometimes because there’s a certain amount of sensationalism and adrenaline in complaining. But more often than not, we complain because it’s easier than taking the risk of going through the work of getting whatever it is we want. Change and risk involve time, effort, sometimes money, and maybe even ridicule. After all, in managing change there’s usually a learning curve. We might make a mistake.

In managing change, if you don’t like your outcome, change your response. If you’re in a situation you don’t like, either work to make it what you want or get out. Don’t complain about it and make other people miserable. Misery loves company. Don’t accept the invitation. You undoubtedly have known people who are in the “ain’t it Awful” Club. Watch out. Attitude is more contagious than the common cold. Good luck to you!

“The only time you find success before work is in the dictionary.”
–May V. Smith

Colleen Kettenhofen is an award-winning speaker, author, media veteran, and devoted animal lover who has presented keynotes and seminars before thousands in 48 U.S. states and five foreign countries. She has conducted more than 1,100 programs on leadership, dealing with difficult people, presentation skills, and change/stress management. Colleen is the author of “Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You,” as well as 10 unique audio programs. For more information, or to sign up for Colleen’s newsletter, visit Colleen Kettenhofen is available for speaking, coaching, and consulting by calling (971) 212-0479.