Implementing Change

Change is something that few people embrace. The comfort zone is a powerful mechanism whether we are referring to personal development or implementing new methods into the workplace. Resistance is common. Overcoming it is imperative if success is to follow.

According to Harold Stolovitch, professor at the University of Montreal, there are three areas which we need to focus upon.

1. Novelty:

In general, we like novelty when it is not a great disruption to our lives. We will try a new restaurant, travel a different route, or read something in a different genre. However, we resist the major changes which stay with us. This is the novelty we resist.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the workplace. Major changes in procedures tend to throw an entire organization off. We find productivity decreases even if the changes are of benefit.

The solution: reduce the novelty by implementing things where the people feel a strong sense of control. Give them some input into the implementation process.

2. Complexity:

People resist that which they do not understand. The success rate diminishes the more complicated something is. Most need to know only the basics to utilize something. Technology is a prime example which often scares people. Reduce the fear by making everything as simple and as possible.

3. Abstractness:

How does this apply to me? This is something that each person asks themselves whenever we are confronted with something new. Any changes need to be explained in a manner that the individual knows how it pertains to them. For example, a shift in policy that the VPs understand might not translate to the custodial staff. To be effective, the implementation needs to include a benefit to each individual.

Too many ideas operate in the abstract world. They make sense on paper but not to the people who really matter. Be sure to connect the larger concept with the individual that is being asked to change.

These three ideas will help to reduce the resistance to change. Implement it both at work and in your personal life. If there are some changes you need to make, and are resisting, look at these three areas. Adopt these ideas and you will make those changes easily.
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