Apr 16, 2016 • 9M

LA 022: Why transformation fails—4 Ways people deal with change

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Dr John Kenworthy
Helping marketplace leaders #UnStuck their true potential to thrive in life and leadership to build a successful, sustainable business with collaborative, high performance teams and Joy@Work with practical, neuroscience-based AdvantEdge Guides and coaching.
Episode details

"Change is the only constant" goes the refrain. There would be little need for change if people were happy to stay the same as they are now. You know that change is uncomfortable. It doesn't matter how big or small the change is; it's how uncomfortable that change makes you feel. For some, difference is something to be avoided. If they appear to go along with the required change, it is because they (perceive that they) have no choice, For others, they'll actively seek change. Staying the same is boring, they need change, they need to learn. They are incomplete if they are not learning to be better. Some people initially resist transformation but accept it after time or practice. For these individuals the transformation has to be proven to be valuable. And there are those who initiate change, sometimes just for the sake of change. And change often fails because of your discomfort with change. How can I change an organisation if I don’t like change myself? Try a little experiment with me. Fold your arms in front of you and settle for a moment. Cross your arms the opposite way round. How long would it take you to be comfortable with this change? Now, switch the way you fold your arms. Instead of right over left, change it to left over right for example. How comfortable are you? A few people who do this feel fine, most will soon revert to their preferred, and far more comfortable, old way of folding their arms. How long would it take you to force yourself to switch your arm folding, before you became comfortable? A day, a week, a month, a year? Never? However long it would take you, there would be many times when you "slipped back into your old ways". Especially under pressure. Perhaps you would eventually switch forever, perhaps you would revert to your original way of doing things. It all depends on how motivated you are to change and if there was a purpose of changing. Most transformation programmes fail to deliver because most people neglect the key elements that facilitate change to take place. To help transform anyone they need to be encouraged, enabled and empowered. Fall short on one, and the transformation project will not achieve the desired change. Why is change so difficult? Going on a journey with people through change can be challenging and exhausting. Bringing sustainable change is even harder. Most people resist change even when they see the need and believe it can occur. [caption id="attachment_12850" align="alignright" width="244"] Resistors - who may not even notice the change, deliberately ignore it, or be so overwhelmed that they push it out of their awareness.[/caption] The owner of the first hotel I managed was just 40 when he suffered a heart attack. His lifestyle, booze, food and a lack of regular exercise were contributory factors but prior to the heart attack, there were no significant symptoms. Life was good, and then BAM! He was on the floor in agony. He survived. His doctor told him bluntly that he had to change his diet, give up alcohol, smoking and take up regular exercise. Change or die! A stark choice. And one that many people face. Initially, my boss came out of hospital ready and eager to take this advice seriously and changed everything that was harming his health. It wasn't easy for him, but he stuck with it and now enjoys a slim, healthy life retired and sailing around the Mediterranean. Yet, in the US alone, some 90% of heart bypass patients can't change their lifestyles, even at the risk of dying. It's not surprising then that changing people's behaviour in business is a challenge. And you would think that I, as a reasonably intelligent human being would have learned from that particular experience, or at least learned from life. But no. I maintained my personal biases and beliefs that such a thing would never happen to me. I wouldn’t be someone who suffered a heart attack because of bad choices. We rarely learn from observing what happens around us, to others or from what others do, unles