Fear Change? Change Fear!


Choice, White Cat

Everyone is afraid of change. Or so they think. Mostly, they are afraid of loss. They are afraid of BEING changed. Believe me, when I’m in charge of change, I’m fine about change! When someone is forcing it upon me, I’m not so excited about it. I could be downright rebellious. Even if deep down I might think it’s a good idea. Too bad. It wasn’t my idea, noone involved me, so I don’t feel valued or inclined to help. I’ll just be in my blanket fort in the living room colouring in if anyone needs ┬áme, okay?

Have you had this experience? Not the bit about being rebellious or scared. That’s not you, is it? But it might be someone you know…

But we all know that change is essential to progress. How does it feel to come up against this resistance? Annoying? Frustrating? Do you just want to metaphorically (or physically) grab this resistor and give them a shake?

You are not alone.

So, we can’t stop people fearing and resisting change. What can we do?

We can talk to them. What DO they stand to lose? They might be attached to their blanket fort, and even though the new living room is bigger with a massive TV, the old living room was perfect for them. What do they THINK they are going to miss out on or have to change? The simple act of listening and acknowledging might be all you need to do. What mitigating actions can you put in place to make the situation less worse? Now, I use the term “less worse” on purpose – as that’s all you’re going to do. As an executive I worked with once said “don’t piss in my pocket and tell me it’s raining”.

Say it how it is. If it’s going to be challenging, say that. If it’s going to be scary, say that too. Let them know what to expect, that you hear them AND you will do what you can to mitigate. Work with them to realise there is ALWAYS a choice.

Even if their fears are not real.

When you work to mitigate losses, you decrease their fear. When you decrease fear, you increase choice. When you increase choice, you get results.

What’s one thing you could do to reduce the fear of others’ around you during your change effort? The one thing that could make all the difference? Do that.