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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why change is so difficult

This is an activity that everyone will have to deal with as they go through this adventure called life, change is an necessity, you go to school and you change, you go through higher education you change, you marry and have kids you change, and all through this, your working life is changing.

Then you start your own business and you step up the rate of change, I would caution that you need to be careful that you don't change so much that you break the relationships around you, but that you try and bring those close to you along as well, this is a short article that I found, that goes through the basic challenges of change, I have lectured on change a lot to entrepreneurs, and taught about the "phases of change" in an organization and how to be aware and prepare for them, this is an important topic and I would like to hear from those of you who have an opinion.

Why change is so difficult
By Joy S. Ruhmann,

Change often takes us out of our comfort zone. As a result, there are consultants who specialize in change management.
When introducing a new way of doing something, often the response is, “What’s wrong with the way we’ve been doing it?” or “This is the way we’ve always done it.” Or when rolling out a new initiative, everyone seems to be in agreement with the changes but then acts disgruntled around the watercooler. These self-defeating behaviors are counter-intuitive to increased productivity, profitability and teamwork. Unfortunately, they are common in business.

Resistance to change
What is it about change that’s so challenging and causes so much resistance? It can come from several sources:
As unique and resourceful individuals, our personalities and behavioral styles impact how we respond to change. High-energy, outgoing individuals often will appear to thrive on change, while lower-energy, more introspective individuals might appear resistant to change.
Our level of self-esteem can have a significant impact on our ability to adapt to change. Individuals with lower self-esteem might be resistant to change for fear of loss of status or role identity. Individuals with higher self-esteem might thrive on change because they see new opportunities and an indicator of better things to come.
Our level of stress can impact our ability to handle change. No matter where we turn, organizations, teams, individuals and families are doing more with less at a faster pace than ever. Cell phones, wireless Internet access and PDAs keep us connected 24/7, so we often don’t slow down to rejuvenate, refresh, and renew. Too much stress also can lead to lower creativity and energy, as well as a tendency to want to limit change to avoid additional stress.
The problem is, according to W. Edwards Deming, father of the quality movement in the U.S., “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” For organizations focused on superior customer service, growth and profitability, change is inevitable and must be accepted and embraced to achieve missions and visions.

Embracing change
How many times have married couples believed they could change each other? Have you ever hired someone who wasn’t quite right for the job, but the position needed to be filled and you were certain that you could change that individual to be effective? People change only if they want to change.
“Change is a personal thing, and I can only change me,” writes John Miller in his book, “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question.” When it comes to handling change, we as individuals are the only ones who can impact our decisions to embrace, fight or ignore change. According to Miller, it is through personal accountability that we become more effective at handling change and avoiding negative responses.
While it is true that the only person you can change is yourself, it also is true that business leaders are tasked with guiding others through change. By instilling a sense of personal accountability into each manager and employee, you can positively impact their attitudes, abilities and willingness to deal with change, as well as their commitment to the organization’s success. After all, change is necessary for survival

Slainte Gordon

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