What Makes Change so Difficult?

Are you comfortable in a roller coaster? Are your colleagues enjoying the ride? What happens when change is announced? Why does some people enjoy change? How can you get people who dislike change to move into a new direction? Is it possible to exercise our change muscle?

Change has become normality. Change used to be a long process. Today a new app can change the world in two months. As a leader, you have to adapt your organisation to succeed.

Feelings – an Emotional State of Reactions

Feelings are what is between ourselves and our future. Our basic physical reaction system creates feelings as soon as we get the message that we need to…change!

I don’t know about you, but if you put me into a roller coaster, my only reaction will be to try to get out of there. Feeling uncomfortable, scared, unsafe, sick…. you name it – I fear the unknown of emptiness. What about you?

Fear of the unknown is for many people stronger than the fear of change – Per Anders Nordengen

People all react differently to the unknown. I’ve had colleagues saying – YES – change ahead come on!!! Others express NO, I don’t want to do anything differently from what I’m used to.

We know what we have, but not what we get…even though it might be better…. The fact is: we get scared when we feel unsecure.

Create a Framework to Secure Feelings

Your mission as a leader is to create a structured framework so that your employees can deal with the unknown of the changes you have launched. You have to manage the anxiety of the unsecure. Changing an organisation is setting a standard for who you should become.

To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you – Tony Dorsett

It is common knowledge that you have to share your vision of where you want to go and what the changes will be. More importantly, you have to secure your people into embracing that same vision. The strongest force for a human being is to stay in tune with how we define ourselves personally.

For each and every person, you need to be able to convey the understanding of their role in this bigger picture. Everybody needs to feel secured by knowing “what’s in it for me?”. People need to get the answer to why they are an important player in the team.

Adapting the organisational structure and your systems to the bigger picture is essential to evict unsecureness. I’ve worked in organisations that have high focus on structure. It is much easier to adapt to change when the basic structure is clear. On the other side, I have started in organisations with no structure – my first objective as a leader has always been to set a structure to frame the change.

My experience is that if there is a lack of basic structure, the change process stops immediately. The simple reason is that people get hung up in what doesn’t work instead of focusing on the long term picture. A hick up in the process becomes the known factor in the change and the change movement stops. You have to create a flow in the organisation to get people on-board.

Train the Change Muscle

Change can be traumatic if people have little change exposure from before. The more changes you have experienced in life, the easier you adapt to changes. Our experiences build an inner structure to deal with change.

You have to enlarge the organisation’s comfort zone and train your people to become an adaptable organisation. You have to build the understanding of that change muscle.

Training your employees in self awareness and in understanding human patterns is a part of creating a framework and a common language to make the process less scary. Long-lasting change is most likely to happen when it’s self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results – Willie Nelson

The change process is a success when you have managed to align the structure and your people to your vision.

So next time you are entering a change period – make sure you plan upfront, create a secure framework and set the standard for your employees to adapt to the change.

Good luck with building your employees’ adaptability!


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