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Unexpected Changes

All change, even for your benefit, is difficult.

Unexpected change, however, adds an element of stress that causes most business people to second guess their management abilities.

Unexpected Change

All change comes in the form of either a planned and anticipated change or as an unplanned and unexpected change.

In a planned change, you can predict its effects in advance of the change and ameliorate its impact.

Unexpected change, however, feels like it came from left field. This change is forced on you by unseen events and unanticipated circumstances. There is no prior notice to allow for contingency planning and allowances for the change’s impacts.

Expecting Unexpected Change

As business leaders, it is important to understand that unexpected change is really not unexpected.

Unexpected change is a natural part of life. For those of us who have been in a specific industry long enough, we know about the cycle of change and the nature of unexpected change.

Unexpected change is unexpected only from the standpoint of the specific details of the change, but the unexpected change itself often occurs like clockwork.

Value of Unexpected Change

The good news about unexpected change is it demonstrates your industry is moving and is dynamic. You, as well as the other industry leaders, are striving to grow and expand, and by doing so are causing incremental changes, which at some point become a corrective action that, unsurprisingly, surprises everyone.

Aside from the change to your industry, this unexpected change should be seen as a welcome opportunity to grow emotionally and physically. It is an opportunity to strengthen your emotional resolve and plan for a better corporate future. This unexpected change might actually force you to reconsider the choices and decisions you have earlier made. It is possible your priorities may need to change.

Although it will not seem like it at first, unexpected change will make your life a little more interesting. Life without surprises is pretty boring. Not now, with the unexpected change, you need to dust off you’re A-game and look for answers to your newfound unpredictability and discover some new direction in your life.


As I think about unexpected changes, here are several ideas on how to adapt to unexpected changes.

  1. Prepare – unexpected changes should not be unexpected. First, unexpected changes are going to happen periodically, so be ready. Second, part of your business management strategy should be to develop worst case scenarios. The unexpected change may be the chance to test those scenarios.
  2. Time to respond – take the time necessary to develop your response to the unexpected change. This is not the place for knee-jerk reactions and short-term thinking. Spend your energy looking for the benefits and advantages that always accompany changes.
  3. Use your experience – Changes are seldom unique. You and other industry leaders have seen a lot of changes in the past, so tap into these old memories. Additionally, keep notes on this most recent change for future reference. You will certainly need them later.
The Bible

The Bible is a book full of people who are beset with unexpected changes. Jonah and Job in the Old Testament were hit with hard dramatic changes, and through God’s wisdom persevered. Joseph and Mary had an unexpected change with the birth of Jesus, and that worked out per God’s plans.

Remember, God is always with you through your unexpected changes. Psalms 22:24 says.

For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

Do not lose sight of God as you work your way through the unexpected changes in your life and business. These changes are always part of God’s plans, so look for the advantages and the benefits, and the changes will ultimately bless your business.