FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Decades
How many times have you heard someone say, “Everyone fears change?” Employees have experienced profound changes in the workplace for decades and yet the headlines would suggest no one is ever prepared for change. Certainly we at least get a little better at navigating change, each time it is thrust upon us. But what is it that really paralyzes people each time a significant change is in the wind?
People don’t fear change.
I’ve never met a baby that didn’t want its soggy diaper changed. Most employees can think of at least a handful of things they’d like to see their boss do differently. The present economy is nothing to get excited about; the majority would certainly like to see some changes for the better. If I came to you and said, “Well, there are going to be some changes around here. We’re going to start with your compensation,” you might initially get nervous. Our first thoughts tend to be negative. “What are you taking away from me? How much more will we be asked to give around here?” What if I then told you, “We’d like to triple your salary?” Would you be okay with that kind of change?
People fear the possibility or the reality of loss.
Granted, a lot of the changes we are asked to swallow have a downside to them. But by assuming that all change is bad, we predispose ourselves to the paralysis of inaction, negative thinking, and helplessness. Most of us know someone who was victim of a corporate downsizing, only to share with you months down the road that his or her departure was possibly the best thing that ever happened. Of course, that can only happen when someone chooses to find the silver lining in a change that, at first, is quite devastating.
Think of the current or pending changes that are brewing in your workplace. Take inventory of the potentially positive upside to those changes. Channel your time and energy toward those activities that will bring about the good that often accompanies change. You will increase your value to the organization and find your positive outlook to be infectious. Seeing change as a force for constant improvement and innovation is a much more viable perspective, no matter where the landscape is moving.
The recent tragedy in Haiti has certainly commanded the world’s attention. No one would ever suggest that their change in fortune was good. Yet each day that we peer into the news of Haiti’s recovery, we learn of countless stories of rescuers and those being rescued who are making the most out of their circumstances, in the shadow of unimaginable devastation. These are the Haitians who are likely to thrive into the future and serve as a force for good in rebuilding an even stronger community and nation.
From change can emerge enormous good. Yet in change some might dwell on only the bad. Which will command your attention?