“I hate change!” These words were spoken by a friend. A friend who was on a team I was on a long time ago, at my very first project. We were, of course, on a team responsible for helping a company make an organizational change.
The irony was not lost on anyone.
Almost everyone resists change. Really?!?!? Shocking news to anyone who has ever decided to move, get a new job, learn a new skill, make new friends… Ok, maybe some people like to do those things, but they almost always require some extra effort. So maybe it’s the extra effort that people don’t like and/or resist. A lot of time the outcomes sound appealing, but if only it were painless to get there.
And beware if you have to move somewhere you rather wouldn’t, take a job you’re not excited about, do anything you would rather not. Yuck, right?
So if you are a sponsor of a change at a large company or program, or you are simply trying to convince a friend or family member to make a change, keep reading. You have to give people enough reason to put in the extra effort to overcome the inertia of staying the same. How do you get them past, “I hate change!”?
- Don’t just tell people they have to change. (This is guaranteed to get them to dig in their heels and argue with you.) Really, very few people like to change and even fewer people like to change because someone else tells them they have to.
- Even fewer people want to change if someone doesn’t bother explaining why. Don’t expect change without explanation. And don’t ever forget the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) messages for everyone involved.
- Involve them in helping create the change / new goal. You have a better chance of getting someone to follow a plan that they contributed to. (Our liking of a change often has a direct relationship to whether we had any part in thinking it up.)
- As a leader you need to show people what you want them to do. People are more willing to follow a leader they perceive as committed to the change. Show them how to change. Or Be the Change.
Now in that last one, there is a nugget.
- Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. You will notice he doesn’t say “think about the change you want to see” or “talk about the change you want to see”, it says BE the change.
- Earlier this month, at the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit , Gloria Steinem said, “We do what we see, not what we are told.”
- A fellow PeopleResults blogger did a recent article on “Leading by Example” in which her son inspires her mother to make a change by showing how he was going to make his own change.
As a leader, remember one of the best ways to get people to put in extra effort to overcome “I hate change!” - - is Be The Change. There are a thousand more examples of leaders and everyday people showing / doing / being the change. What is yours?
Until next time…wishing you business readiness success!
Kirsten Jordan is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @kirstenkbdb.