Change is difficult; everyone knows that. There is ‘change resistance’, ‘change reluctance’, ‘change aversion’ and (danger, Will Robinson!) ‘change management’. So change must be a really big deal.

Only… you embrace change all the time. So does everyone else. You buy a better car, a bigger house, upgrade your laptop or your mobile device, and happily slap down the cash for a new pair of running shoes.

To put it another way, here’s some things you don’t hear that often:

  • Yes, the roof leaks and we get break-ins every other week, but hey, why move somewhere better just because we can?
  • I’m really comfortable with Windows 3.1, so I’ll just keep using my old 386. And I’ve still got an unused stylus for my Apple Newton, so you can have the iPad back too, buddy…
  • These old gym shoes got me through cross-country at school, they should be fine for cross-training now. And the Boston Marathon.
  • You are the most amazing and wonderful person I’ve ever met, but you see I have a whole shelf of ‘cooking for one’ recipe books, so I guess I’ll say no to romance.

(I admit, you may well hear “it does 3 miles to the gallon, but I love this old truck. I’ll never change it for a new one, you can bury me in it…”)

The truth is, we all make lots of changes because of increased utility. We make even more changes because of enjoyment, desire, pleasure and love.

So, here’s a question: just how effective a change strategy would you say it is to ask people what is worrying them about proposed changes, and then tell them everything will be fine?

Compared to say, giving them the opportunity to discover for themselves what really matters to them, and then find that point of engagement in the opportunity to change “how things happen around here”? Which is not only absolutely possible, it is both faster, cheaper and more effective than an approach which turns at least 80% of the population into unwilling participants - if not change resistors.

The simple answer is that people embrace what they feel some passion for. In organisations, as in life, passion is primarily a bottom-up phenomenon; not something you can drive from the top. Fortunately the grass roots is also where most of the understanding of your customers and products or services abides, so just maybe, this could be a change worth embracing…

Originally posted on LinkedIn - Published April 5, 2017