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How Can I Know when Change is in the Wind so that my Department Can Prepare for it?

You need to monitor events within your organization. This way, you will learn about changes that may involve your department. You shouldn’t let yourself be blind to signals of change nor should your staff believe that you are not in the loop on these issues. Your staff has to think that you know what is up and, more important, will represent their concerns if the demands from senior management aren’t reasonable.

To ensure you have a voice in the final change, volunteer to help the change happen if it is inevitable anyway. Thus, you will be in a position to influence the decisions made about the change plan and its implementation.

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If you want to ensure that you are in the loop and can even anticipate change before it is announced, you might want to do the following:

Eat lunch with coworkers. It’s amazing how much you can learn about what’s happening elsewhere in the organization during lunch, even during a coffee break taken with a colleague.

Read the reports you receive. It is very easy to get so buried in paperwork that you put aside reports about activities not directly related to your job. But skimming such documents, even if it means printing digitized versions, can alert you to developments under way that could directly or indirectly affect your department.

Socialize with your own manager. Use this less as a time to let him or her know how much you have done—to brag about yourself or department—but as an opportunity to learn what your manager is involved with. From what you hear, you may be able to anticipate events in the future.

Involve yourself in cross-functional teams that might impact your department. If you are asked to participate, say "yes." Don’t be cavalier about the invitation—likely, you wouldn’t have been asked to participate if there were no reason for you to be involved.