// what do you think?


Why Is Change So Hard?

There’s a lot of talk in the business world about “change management.” There are countless books about it out there. Change management books are about as effective as diet books. And strangely they’re both dealing with the same root problem: People don’t like to change.

Change is scary.

We are programmed to avoid change. It makes us more efficient. We understand the status quo but we don’t understand the outcomes of impending change. This sparks in us the greatest of all fears; the fear of the unknown.

Change is hard. 

We have invested a great deal of time and effort into learning our current regimen. Whether it’s our systems and processes at work or even the things we’ve come to expect as a given. Change means unexpected outcomes and learning new systems and processes. It means a great deal of effort on our part.

 Change is personal.

The biggest problem I see with organizational change is that it doesn’t address the individual change that needs to happen. Most people aren’t good at change. And those that are have usually left be the time change happens aren’t good at it and don’t understand why they should have to change. They don’t see what’s in it for them.

Change is inevitable.

But the big problem is that we all need to get better at change. The rate of change is increasing exponentially. And it’s not just that the rate of change is increasing but the degree of change is also increasing exponentially. Change is happening more frequently and the degree of change is greater each time.

Despite my previous knocks against change management business books, the best books that I’ve read about change are by John Kotter. They don’t read like your usual business book and they actually address the human elements of organizational change.

My top 3 recommendations would be:

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/how-to-reinvent-yourself-in-3-not-so-easy-steps/ How to Reinvent Yourself in 3 (Not-So) Easy Steps | @NewCommBiz

    [...] Big changes can be scary and very difficult. You have to learn a whole new field. Your livelihood and identity are tied to your job. When I was at HP I watched a lot of my coworkers get laid off. These were employees who started working for HP right out of college and spent the next 30 years working on nothing but LaserJet printers. When they were laid off they had almost no marketable job skills. [...]

  • http://twitter.com/mal mike lopez

    Have you taken a look at Kanban? As a software developer it’s blown my mind. http://agilemanagement.net/index.php/Blog/thoughts_on_how_kanban_differs_from_scrum/

  • http://www.jeremymeyers.com/ Jeremy Meyers

    Our brain works by creating neuronal pathways between bits of information, and conducting electrical current through them.  The more often current flows, the more solid and harder to adjust the connections are’  Hence ” that which fires together, wires together”.  Changing connections due to changing circumstances requires immense effort, especially if theres a drastic difference between what we’re ‘used to’ (which pathways have been built up over time), and the new situation.  

    This is why we fight it, behaviorally. Change is hard!

    Another reading recommendation: The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Dr Norman Doidge.  Fascinating stuff!

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/ tacanderson

    The brain is a fascinating thing indeed. It is hard because it requires real physical change but, as they say: It’s all in your head. 

  • http://twitter.com/u2elan Tim Sears

    We are using Kanban in our development group, as we get hit with a broad assortment of request and frequently have to spin up and adapt. I agree, it is quite mind blowing.

  • http://www.layeredbyte.com/ Holden Page

    “But the big problem is that we all need to get better at change.” True that, Tac. True that.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/ tacanderson

    Thanks Holden. 

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