Change Management — People Don’t Just Hate Change

by Krishna on April 5, 2006

There is a very common management perception that some people just hate change. It seems that those people are very comfortable with the status quo and hence they don’t want to change. Those who say this basically absolve themselves of the responsibility of finding out why there is opposition to change and potentially put the execution of the change at risk.

The truth is that, if you talk with any person working in any organization, you will discover THEIR ideas for change for the organization. They will tell you how HR should operate, how their managers should behave, what their CEO is lacking. Most people do want the status quo to change for the better.

To give another example, consider what would happen if it is announced that the work week will be reduced to 4 days without any change in salary or benefits. That is a change. There would be hardly a person disagreeing with that change. So if people are disagreeing with a proposed change, there should be something about the change itself that makes people oppose it.

I think if each of us looks at our own professional lives, we would see that we have opposed suggestions and ideas from our managers. New bureaucratic procedures are usually something that most people (including me) have continuously opposed. Why? Because we “hate change” or “are afraid of change”? Not at all. It is because we think those new policies are bad or waste time and don’t bring any benefit.

So next time, we judge someone for opposing our suggestion, we should walk in their shoes for a while and figure out exactly what may be causing this opposition. We may find many questions from them, perhaps suggestions for improvements. Always people have a reason — you just have to find out why!

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