Most People Don’t Want to Embrace Change, They Want to Erase It
My twenty-year mission as a change management speaker has led me to the conclusion that most people don’t want to embrace change management, they want to erase it. In my in-person and virtual training sessions, I note that managing change is never easy. However, organizational change is made more difficult when employees intuitively know they must accept the changes in their organization, and then refuse to expose themselves to it. It is harder still, when key organizational leadership wants to “erase the thought of change” in the way they communicate change management through email, texts, speeches and newsletters.
Change Management Affects Everyone
The resistance to change management, almost to the point where no one wants to face it, is not a new concept. One of the classic studies on change management and overcoming an “erase culture,” was done in 2014 by the Department of Industrial Psychology at the University of Johannesburg. The study concluded numerous reasons for organizations wanting to avoid change management.
I am going to paraphrase, but the reasons include:
1. The fear of the unidentified challenges (or the unknown in general)
2. The fear of losing security or a change of title (like a demotion).
3. Allegiance to one department or group (my co-workers are afraid, so I’m afraid).
4. They are wrong in doing this (I’m invested in being right)
5. The fear of the group instituting the change (we don’t trust them)
6. The fear of not being rewarded for major efforts asked of them during change
7. I’m (we’re) going to fail big-time!
8. This is the wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong everything!
The needs to erase the thought of change are as numerous as the excuses. Unfortunately, it is delaying the inevitable and wastes precious time. In fact, it is more likely than not that even within the same department, there are multiple reasons for the resistance. Each member of a team might pick their reason from the list above, or create additional reasons.
Change Management is Negotiation Management
Change management is an ongoing negotiation between executive leadership and everyone in the organization. While some changes are never easy, ramrodding the change rather than explaining the need for change, is almost always met with resistance. The reaction to powering change through, can last for months and could result in the loss of valuable employees.
There must be a negotiation that ushers through the entire process. The negotiation forms a bond between those who understand that change is inevitable, and those who must be convinced as to why this change must occur.
The key to the negotiation and to the acceptance, rather than the avoidance of change is communication. Communication must be consistent; it must be constant and it must be connected across all platforms the organization has at its disposal.
Change can be subconsciously “erased” and hidden away or it can be negotiated and brought into the light for everyone to see.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Keynote Change Management Speaker, for a virtual or in-person presentation to your organization, call (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.