Every individual or an organization, small or big, goes through small changes every now and then at an unconscious level. But to keep yourself or the organization in a leading position in the marketplace, a transformational change is very much required. This transformational change asks for a complete re-wiring of the system.
For an individual, this re-wiring involves change in basic habits, realignment of values, learning new skills, developing new capabilities, acquiring new behaviors and frequently exhibiting them and creating an environment around which helps and supports to grow with altogether new culture.
Same goes for an organization but becomes more challenging as it has to be through many individuals.
This change can be exciting, pleasurable, joyful, energetic, life giving, supportive, promoting, blessing etc. for someone whereas it can be disgusting, frustrating, depressing, defeating, disheartening, demoting, etc. for the other.
This change can either by initiated by self or is imposed by someone else. It becomes easy for an individual to embrace the change if it is welcomed from within but to come from within, one has to feel the importance of the change. One has to gather more information on the reasons of change, identify the personal and organizational benefits out of it and visualize the fantastic results post the change.
If one does not see any importance and value in the change, he/she brings on excuses.
Why do people resist change?
- Probably they feel a loss of their identity post the change
- As they feel loss of their identity, they believe that their future is in dark
- They don’t see much value post the change
- They probably see a huge gap between the present skills they possess and the skills required post the changes
- This change may expect them to behave in a different way compared to what they are doing now.
- They may have to change team, place of work
- Overwhelming thoughts of doing many things at a time, increased competition pressure and chunking down a lot may create anxiety and stress leading to resistance in change.
If it’s self-initiated, it can be planned accordingly and the journey becomes more interesting and as this is owned by self, it is always going to be close to heart and a complete willingness to change would be there. These changes can be small or big depending on the area of impact i.e. it can be getting your house renovated, purchasing a new house, acquiring new skills, change in career, getting married etc.
Some changes comes as a surprise like people getting laid off from their current jobs without notice, heavy rains in winters, last minute cancellation of flight to different city where you had an important client’s meeting.
Each individual is an artist. They build their own stories and design the climax as per their map of the world and they start feeling disgusted, frustrated, depressed, defeated, disheartened, demoted, angry etc.
Any change is always out of the comfort zone and when the change hits, people try to be there in comfort zone which is most stable and secured. But if the change is inevitable, people become anxious, angry and feel frustrated and try to delay the change to happen. Due to all these negative mental states people lack on internal resources and performance and productivity drops. People become over protective due to the fear of change and when observed through an observer’s point of view, they are horrified by the mere thought of change and act weird. They come up with very strong reasons to resist change and apply full force to resist change. Individuals get on a mission to influence others as well on the strong reasons to avoid change as they don’t want to be alone in this journey.
While doing all this, human brain is smart enough to inject a threat of losing and induces guilt which might result in doing self-assessment to realize the short fall of all available skills and capabilities to cope up with the change. In this roller coaster journey of resistance and self-realizations, people silently challenge themselves and their resistance to the change, reduces, which in turn increases the level of acceptance for the change.
Once this paradigm shift happens, individuals take accountability to develop themselves through training and following others to adapt the change and start experimenting the new things. With the start of this experiential journey, people start learning altogether new skills and small achievements start giving them huge satisfactions and changes the game altogether. Once this happens, the people make an effort to ensure others also join them in this journey and now this becomes easy for the organization to bring in the cultural change.
As a manager or a leader, one must give enough space to employees to display their emotions and talk their heart out. This is a doorway for leaders to get in and fix the things. Leader must understand that people are not their behaviors. As a leader if you give them a better choice of behavior which also achieves the same result, they will choose that.
As a manager or a leader, one must show a big picture to the team to re-install confidence and make them understand the value and importance of the change. Leader must understand through the conversations, how each individual is taking this change and accordingly put it in right context and fill in the perfect content to change the game altogether.
Once you have a conversation with them as a leader or manager, you can identify the reasons and once you are able to do that, you have all the solutions to change perceptions.
Once acceptance is there, individuals can come up with their own solutions to cope up with the change, promote it and enable them with the required resources and they will take complete accountability.
So next time when you as a leader is looking out for a transformational change, be crystal clear about the ultimate purpose and that must be known to each one in the team. Each one has to come up with a “BIG WHY” on the purpose and I am sure people will come up with so strong reasons for themselves to change that they will take the ownership and will act as ambassadors for the change.