Who says people don’t like change?

Apr 6, 2018

A common expression that I hear is about how people don’t like change. I often pause and shudder slightly at this expression because I find it only to be partly true. What I find is that people actually really need change to be happy and can enjoy it. Please read “The Age of Absurdity” by Michael Foley for a wry and insightful take on this subject.

I’ve spoken to people who will openly say that they don’t like change and always ask them to think about some change they have enjoyed, going on holiday, buying a new car or house, or even simply decorating a room at home.

It is only when you talk this through that people realise that they like change they see as positive and that they are part of. The true statement is that many people don’t like change when it is done to them. This is why engaging people in making change and enabling the collaboration is critical.

You only have to look at recent politics to see this in action. Brexiteers delighted because they forced a change to happen but Remainers outraged because it is being done to them. The story is the same in the USA with Donald Trumps appointment.

Whichever way we look at it, a significant groundswell of people in the UK and USA voted for a change and a really huge change at that. Staying the way it is was not an option for them in fact it was so important for many that they were prepared to ignore/look past some startling criticisms.  Interestingly, when talking to Remainers and Clinton supporters, many of them wanted change to happen too, just not Brexit or Trump. In both cases the drawback has been in the divided nations that are now trying to repair the gap and build a sense of purpose amongst their people. This, in itself, will be hugely time consuming and long running for these nations.

Ironically now, in both countries there is a huge risk that none of the change either side wants will happen because of this divide stalemate ensues.

So it is clear that we are a world with a huge appetite for change. It is also clear that when we make change we need to work hard to engage people and build collaboration to make it happen. Nobody needs those divides in their organisation. A structured method beginning by building the sense of purpose at the outset (and not in retrospect) and engaging teams in changing towards better delivery of the purpose is how we all push together to achieve more.

This is also the difference between making true change and making cosmetic change (sometimes called ‘fake lean’). Years of experience have taught us how to spot these differences and to help those that are committed to making real change in their business. Providing a framework that can be adapted to the business and yet remains structured enough to keep the engagement and alignment together means you can be successful.