If you had told people 25 years ago, they wouldn’t need to carry cash in the future, they might have freaked out. 15 years ago, if you told them they didn’t need their fax machine, would that have been alright? If you had said 10 years ago that most people wouldn’t have landlines at home, would they believe you? Although we may not always be comfortable with change, the reality is that the change happens anyway.
If a company is going to do well, it must get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Leaders need to come to terms with the realization that they must adapt to changing market conditions, customer expectations, environmental influences and cultural trends. They can’t just retreat to the tried and true, staying firmly within their comfort zone because “that’s the way we’ve always done it around here.” After all, just 10 years ago an “app” was something we ate before the entrée. Now there are literally millions of apps for our mobile devices. How companies deal with change can be the difference between long-term success and failure.
No matter what it is, some people resist change naturally, and when it happens, they’re always uncomfortable. Other people seem to roll with the punches more effectively, not only in their actions but their attitudes. Leaders need to recognize the difference early, so they know how to provide support and keep results on track.
Those resistant to change often fear how the change will impact them. Listening to these concerns is an important first step in taking down the barriers to change. Helping them to understand the gap between worry and influence is an effective second step, this enables resisters to identify choices they can make to positively impact outcomes.
Leaders can leverage the attitudes of those who embrace change by providing them opportunities to influence resisters. When embracers listen to and address the questions and concerns of resisters, a more positive dynamic is created. Resisters feel heard and have an opportunity to vent their concerns. Embracers show the resisters that not everyone in the company feels the same way and can provide emotional and logical support as they all go through the change.
The ability to adapt is critical to succeed. So, look at your organization and consider what you need to do to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.