Why is change so hard to implement in your life or organization?
All human beings, at some level, have a resistance to change. Some changes we adopt automatically because they make us happy. But often when it comes to changes that we don’t choose, we may be more resistant. On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the highest), how resistant are you to change?
Resistance is natural, and it comes from the fact that change requires a TON of energy and conscious thought. We are habitual beings. In fact, approximately 95% of the time we are acting out of habit. Introducing change into your life or to others requires us to delve into conscious thought. We are not used to being in conscious thought, so that can be exhausting.
Another reason we may resist change is because of the fact that people go from being an expert at something to being a novice.
It may help to think about it like a staircase. Generally, because we are creatures of habit, people rise to the level an “expert” of proficiency where actions become habitual and do not require a lot of actual thought. This is what it feels like to be at the “top” of the staircase. But when you introduce change, people are forced back down to the bottom and must work their way back to the top.
The staircase of change
The onset, the very bottom step, is called the “I don’t know what I don’t know” step. It’s a really confusing place and takes a lot of brainpower. At some point after the initial change, you may be in a different, overwhelming state of “now I know how much I don’t know.” The next step after you have done some training is being conscious of your competence and regaining confidence – now you know how much you know. And the last, fourth step is getting to a place of “knowing something so well, you don’t even have to think about it.”
There is a formula to help you climb the staircase and implement change:
Why x Vision x Action > Resistance to Change
Why – Why did I decide to do this?
Vision – What will this change look like once it is complete?
Action – You should have a solid action plan (clear and specific) with steps in how this change will happen.
If you are missing any of those components, you are going to have a really hard time overcoming resistance. And if you are trying to lead others to change, communicating these components will be absolutely crucial in helping others implement the changes your organization desires.