It’s the end of an Era-How will you be affected?

I wake up this Tuesday morning in somewhat of a somber, reflective mood.  Those who know me well understand that I am somewhat disappointed that the Auburn Tigers lost last evening to the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS national championship game.  One one hand there is no disappointment for those who follow Auburn due to the meteoric rise they have encountered this year.  On the other hand the Tigers led this game for most of its entirety, only to let it slip away at the end.

This game played out in a bigger context as it was the last game of the BCS era in College Football.  The BCS era, love it or hate it, has been one of rampant growth for collegiate football and its popularity, but now that era is over.

You too are affected when an era comes and goes.  All of us deal with this.  Let me explain a few of the common eras you will encounter in your career:

  • You are a staff member in a company that either is acquired or goes out out of business
  • You leave one firm for another to further your career
  • You choose to begin your own business after working in the corporate world

Those of us who have been through these changes understand well the effects these types of changes have.  Let’s talk a little today about how to deal with them.

Eras don’t typically change overnight.  There are signs that a change is afoot and it makes good sense to pay attention to those clues that indicate this.  Seeing new people making decisions is one of these clues and other clues will be seeing visitors frequently who are not typically introduced as they tour or visit.  This kind of behavior should be one more indicator that something is going on that leadership doesn’t want others to be aware of, at least not completely.

Another clue that an era is changing is meetings at unusual times to not bring attention to what is happening.  These meetings might be early in the day, late in the day or on the weekend.  When you see these types of things and they are not the norm you should know an era is about to change.

How do you prepare when you think that things are about to change?  Here are several things to do?

  • Work hard and pay attention; too often people slack off when they think things are changing and that will make them expendable.  The last thing you want is to be considered expendable when change is happening.
  • Keep in touch with your best confidants in leadership; they may not be able to tell you everything or anything, but your interest may go a long way as the changes come down.
  • Work on your external network; if things do go badly for you this will keep you from being caught totally off guard.  There is never a time to stop networking, but it is crucial to keep your network informed when you think an era is about to change within your firm.

Eras come and eras go in organizations and industries.  Don’t get caught by surprise when this happens.  Be prepared for the changes as they occur and you will be better off for it.