Change Management

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Resistance to Change – The Reason Why?

Speak to any one around. All agree and know, that big wins do not come by doing a little better than competition, playing safe may not always be playing smart, so on and therefore change it needed and some will even say that change is inevitable. To deliver a truly compelling message, the need is to be distinctly different from others; even in a conservative environment. Still change is resisted, why is it so?

Change originates from an idea and the visualization of its effect on our future lives; therefore it is the mind where the change begins. Knowledge, hence awareness is the driving force behind the amplitude of change that is conceived.

Propagators of change are faced with resistance as they continue to focus too much on how to implement the change rather than to find the reasons to why it is resisted. Hence most of the efforts are wasted or are time consuming and are not cost effective.

No two set of people, be it in form of individuals, groups, teams, organizations, families or societies are same; similarly no two changes are same. Therefore, no two combinations of change and set of people will be the same. There cannot be any predetermined formula to implement change. That makes it imperative to understand the "why" behind the resistance before determining the "hows" of the implementation process.

Change, undergoes its evaluation by both our rational and emotional mind. Since the rational factors are easier evaluated and understood, the resistance to change is more influenced by the emotional mind. An understanding of these emotional factors behind the resistance to change is imperatives. The 'how' is the customization that is achieved by the research of the 'why' in the situation.

The rational mind would raise a question on the effectiveness of the idea itself, mostly is questioned and the justifications are sought for:

Faith on the success of the idea: Fear of failure of the idea itself. Most people cannot imagine and foresee. Lack of Credible evidence of demonstrated success of the idea stops them to opt for the change. Workability of the idea: The idea may be good and convincing but fear of its workability and execution in the given circumstances. Genuinely suspect the success of idea: rationally believe that the idea is not workable.

On the other hand the emotional mind would resist the change due to the nature of individual and those mostly unspoken but felt individual or even shared fears:

• Tendency  to live in the comfort zone: Familiarity and comfort: traditional ways of doing things is time tested and has predictable results. This imparts a feeling of comfort and being connected.

• Changes overwhelm: change does not come alone; it requires adjustment to various associated activities. This tires, overwhelms and distorts the comfort zones.

• Fear of failure: Risk aversion: Making a change means to move in the direction of the unknown hoping that something better will happen.  But there is no guarantee.  It is risky.

• Fear of lack of competence: Rarely admitted though, people fear lack of competence. Change often necessitates learning new skills, acquiring knowledge of and exposure to the new.

• Fear of Loss of Identity: Deviation from something that is learned and practiced invites fresh competition and makes feel insecure, it challenges self importance and also makes feel disconnected.

• Playing it safe: In a situation when the perceived risk of change is greater than the risk due to non compliance, or if the promised rewards are not visible but are idealistic, then the motivation to accept and action change lacks.

• Trust and Faith in the promoter of the idea: Fear of the hidden agendas of the promoters. Fear that the idea is promoted to serve the purpose of the promoter and not for the collective good. 

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