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You, me and why organisational change is hard

Insight

14 April 2016

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Change can cause us quite a stir. Just think about the last time you moved house, changed job or things around you just seemed…well, different. That creeping uncertainty, the fear of something unknown. Evolution has wired us to be cautious about change. It’s our deep-rooted survival instinct. It’s our fight or flight. Some of us deal with it better than others but it’s still hard, this change business. When we view change as a threat, our emotions override our rational thoughts. Things like problem-solving and how we process new ideas take a back seat in our buzzing brain. 

It’s no wonder then, that organisational change is so hard. A merger, for example, is a rational creature with commercial backbone and pragmatic rally, darting into focus with little warning.

But, whether the organisational change plan likes it or not, the unexpected makes our brains sniff out threat.  It’s not something we choose. It just happens. ‘Who are they?’ ‘Is my job still mine?’ ‘I don’t need to change’, ‘Things are fine as they are aren’t they?

Change fails without people who do something differently. When our brain interprets change as a threat, we start worrying about our status, about certainty, about our freedom and our colleagues and simply, what’s fair. Let’s be frank. We lose focus on the task in hand.

If we want people to adapt to change and perform in uncertainty we need to understand how they work. How we work. Only then will we ever maximise our chances of successful change.

Leaders need to be poised with the right teams at the ready and they’ll need to communicate like they never knew they could. Overlook the people-side at your peril.

 

Sign up for our webinar on 19 May to hear more about what you can do to effect successful change in your organisation

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