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The only constant in life is change. We’ve all heard some version of this saying. Sometimes we make a change because we want to, and other times, change happens to or around us. Regardless, we must accept the reality of it, decide on a direction, create a plan, and execute against it.   

As retail professionals we standardize and systematize our day-to-day operations to do things as efficiently as possible. It makes behaviors predictable and allows us to plan. For example, we establish deadlines to be sure our deals or TPRs are in the system on time, and we create editorial calendars to be sure our social posts coincide with weekly specials or other company-wide messaging. We have established times for monthly events and set our office hours. We structure things and settle in. Then, over time, change happens. The economy turns, organizational priorities shift, reporting structures change. In these moments, we need to embrace change.

Robert Quinn, in his book Deep Change, says it like this, “Making deep change is not easy. Organizations become structured and stagnant, and so do individuals. We have knowledge, values, assumptions, rules, and competencies that make us who we are. As the world around us changes, we lose our sense of alignment and begin to have problems. Often, we can resolve these problems by making a small adjustment or an incremental change. Sometimes, however, we need to alter our fundamental assumptions, rules, or paradigms and develop new theories about ourselves or our surrounding environment.” In these moments it is up to us if we choose to confront the deep change or move towards a slow death.

If you choose to embark on deep change, the resulting journey through the unknown can be an exhilarating and sometimes terrifying experience. The possibility of failure (or “slow death”) may feel more like a reality than a metaphor. But it can alternatively be a great opportunity to grow professionally and expand your impact!

Many retail dietitians leaned into the need for deep change during the COVID-19 pandemic. From moving one-on-one and group education events to virtual platforms and embracing ecommerce to reach shoppers as they build virtual carts, many of you quickly shifted your strategy and completely reimagined how you could contribute to the business going forward.

These changes, while possibly scary at the time, have led to growth and new opportunities for retail dietitians. Emily Massi shared a description of her job as Healthy Living Merchandising Manager for Giant Food, which is a new role created following a restructuring of their program. Hy-Vee recently launched a new subscription model for health and wellnesswhile the program wasn’t a result of the pandemic, the pandemic sped up the process of having virtual options available. With the virtual component of their programming, their team can serve more than 285 stores across an eight-state region!

Hopefully we will not face another pandemic anytime soon, but we can expect change to keep coming at us. Do you embrace deep change opportunities when they present themselves?

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