Why do we Resist Change?
Change is everywhere, change is constant, it affects us all so why do most people buck it, or shy away from it?
As human beings we are creatures of habit, we like a routine and yet how many times in your life have you thought, routine, same old thing, boring.
So what is it about change, since it is relentless that makes us want to try to resist it?
Even when we realise that change is inevitable sometimes it’s painful, we leave something behind, a way of working, a job, a house, a car, a friend or loved one.
If you are the Architect of change what then?
You have to appreciate that there will be always dissenters to your change, no change has ever had 100% acceptance by a group, a team, a workforce a company or even a country. So accept it and plan for what you will do about those dissenters. Typically work on the basis of thirds, one third of the people will accept your change, one third simple don’t care and one third will resist at all costs. So where do you need to put your efforts? Mostly into the 1/3 who don’t care, sway all of them as to the imperative for change and you have got yourself a majority but don’t think its that easy. The dissenting 1/3 will be trying to sway them back!
If your team is 200 strong and your executive consists of a further 6 people then there’s 66 dissenting people, so you are numbered over 10:1…. Well not quite. Remember the people who will be pro-change, you have them on your side so use them as agents of change. Use them as a force multiplier, to convince the undecided and to take your change message down the hierarchy closer to the workforce, make them identify with the change agents and everything will be much easier. If you identify these people for one change the chances are they will be good change agents for subsequent changes.
6 Elements for Communicating Compelling Change
- Make your message for change consistent, never deviate from the central imperative and the desire for change.
- Use facts and evidence to make your audience realise that change is really necessary. The burning platform approach can work well for this but keep your integrity high and avoid blame.
- Be prepared for the dissenters, second guess what their arguments will be and produce solid counter arguments. Make sure again that your integrity is high and that your counter argument is water tight because even a tiny error will allow the dissenters to rip a gaping hole in your argument.
- Paint a compelling picture, use imagery and simple words and facts to convey how everything will be after the change is embedded.
- Be sincere, coherent and have integrity in everything you do or say about the change, avoid blaming a circumstance, a competitor, a predecessor even though the chances are one of these was the initial reason for your change. You want the focus to be on the final changed state and not on the person or event that precipitated it.
- Always make it look as though the change is an active choice and not a necessity.
Remember the change will not introduce anything that will last forever because another change will come along probably just after you have implemented it!
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”. Lao Tzu