What actually is change and why we fear it?
We all want some constants in our life and work and usually resist change and sometimes fear that a change might ruin our peace.
But before stressing ourselves, can we spend a minute or two to think what actually are we fearing, what actually is change?
Change is a constant. Change is predominantly defined as the coping process of moving from present state to the future desired state that individuals and groups employ to respond to the dynamic internal and external change triggers.
It is neither the strongest of people nor the most intelligent people that have survived the test of time but the people who were cognizant of the change processes happening and were effectively responsive to it.
Many successful companies failed owing to the fact that they were unable to adapt to changes in the market; Kodak is a classic example, they invented the first digital camera but in attempt to protect their film business forgot the fact that digital products are shaping the market.
Unilever, formed in 1980s, is still relevant and victorious today because they understood that one has to go with the flow of the change.
Change is bound to happen at one point in time or another and is unavoidable.
People are generally not receptive to change and try to avoid it as much as they can because of a variety of reasons.
Miscommunication and misunderstanding regarding why the change is implemented and why it is essential to be done is one of the reasons, whether it is your workplace, social life or other spheres.
When people are unclear about new processes, roles and expectations, resistance to change will exist.
The other major cause is fear of the unknown; change has this undisclosed and concealed component in it and as a result, the apprehensiveness and anxiety towards accepting change is inevitable.
Moving towards something unknown and unfamiliar is risky and people are predominantly risk averse.
As the famous movie, ‘Life of Pi’ figuratively signifies that one has to learn on the go because life and today’s world presents you with such situations that you didn’t think will exist.
One can only survive if change is accepted as a natural process and strategies to cope with it are modeled in time.
Change requires an upgrade of skills and competencies as well as learning of new concepts and unlearning of previously held beliefs and ways of doing thing so, lack of competence is one of the reasons why people resist change because they feel they don’t have necessary skills to keep pace with the changing environment.
People resist change when before implementing change, people are not made part of the process, they are not consulted and are not engaged in an effective discourse about the potential pros and cons of a changed process and how it will affect them.
People are normally unwilling to let go off the status quo and authority they have. Change means a modification and dilution in their authority and people oppose change because they feel they will be worse off at the end of the change than they are now.
When people perceive change as non-rewarding and bearing no fruit related to the problem which was tried to solve through a changed process, they fight against the change.
Change cannot be effectively executed in an environment of mistrust; when people are skeptical about the intentions and behavior of others, change is invariably bound to experience opposition and resistance.
As change is ineluctable and inescapable and there is no way out to succeed except to accept and embrace change so people should try to cope with change and rise to the occasion.
The first and foremost thing is to have a positive, welcoming and open outlook towards change.
Acknowledge and re-frame your mind that things are changing and take yourself out from the valleys of denial. Focus and work towards the positive aspects of a changed environment as compared to the negatives.
Look out for support on accepting change as the process of change is overwhelming. Stress is an obvious repercussion and consequence of change so, try to manage stress as it can eat you out before you even embark on the new changed journey.
Be proactive, do not procrastinate and take actions to get yourself used to change as early as you can because no one wants to be left behind in this ever evolving and competitive new world.
Now for those who want to bring change, as a change agent, you should be aware of the sensitivities and reasoning that make people prone to resist change, before bringing about any change as this will help them in managing and administering change.
For change to be effective, people should be ready, willing and able to receive and undertake change as it will assist them progressing towards the more favorable future desired state.