What?! Change doesn’t work? Our businesses are always changing something. Read on. This is an enlightening post by Fiona Cohn on change. It may open your eyes to something new. It did for me…
Who likes change? Really. Even people who tell me they like change behave as though they don’t when it happens. It’s a fact that most people don’t like change. I heard a joke that the only people that like change are cashiers and babies with dirty nappies!
Most of us (and I admit I’m in this group too) resist change. We like the status quo. In today’s fast changing world, things are changing all the time. Humans are amazingly resilient and able to deal with change. I bet if you look back a year to what you were doing in your business, you’re most likely doing things very differently today. Businesses and people who are willing to reinvent themselves over and over again are the ones that enjoy greater success – in business and personally. In business that means tracking your competition and doing something different. That’s the real key to business success.
Here are a few things that are likely to be holding you and your business back from making change work for you rather than against you.
People like the status quo
I’ve rarely met a person who doesn’t have ‘stability’ as one of their core values. So when we need to change something that tugs at a core value and makes us feel vulnerable. Even when the change is likely to be a dramatic improvement we still resist it.
Take the case of the QWERTY keyboard – originally designed because when typewriters were invented, fast typing would jam the keys. The QWERTY design put the most used letters on the left to slow down right handed people. It put rarely used letters in between more commonly used letters, reducing the risk of the typing arms jamming. When electric typewriters and computes came along the typing habit was so deeply ingrained, we stuck with it even though a keyboard with the most commonly used letters placed centrally would be faster, easier and more ergonomic to type with.
People focus on what they have to lose or give up
Change inevitably means stopping doing something and starting to do something differently so people perceive it as a loss rather than a gain. This is in spite of the fact that change over the long term usually results in dramatic improvements for most of us.
Take the mobile phone as an example. I resisted getting a smartphone for fear of my number being linked to all sorts of platforms so that anyone could contact me should they wish to. I didn’t want to give up that element of my privacy.
In my world, a phone was for making and receiving calls and I already had one that did that. Two years ago I relented and while I still don’t use my ‘phone to anywhere near its potential, when I lost my handset at the beginning of the year I realised how much I had been relying on it – for email, diary management, keeping my contacts up to date and using a host of apps to make my life easier. And as a business woman, I wsa grateful that people knew how to get hold of me.
People accept change differently
This means you can’t ‘sell’ the change as a ‘one size fits all’ solution. You need to help each individual see what’s in it for them.