I don’t like change. (Wait. What?)

Graphic of roads criss-crossing and directional signs pointing in wild directionsWas that a clickbait title?

The thing is, I generally don’t like change. Just ask my husband; he’ll vouch for the truth of that statement.

And that’s probably why I’ve studied change, learning how people react and / or respond to change, in order, in part at least, to understand my own reactions and manage them better.

I look at those reactions, the challenges I and others have when change happens unexpectedly, and the ways in which organizational change affected different people in different ways when I was a corporate employee and then an executive. I observe how people struggle with change, noting the questions and concerns that come up.

And based on what I learned, I created my process for helping people do change better.

There are some who say they like change. And I’ve been taken to task by people who point out that those with ADHD often actively seek change.

Yep. No doubt. But here’s the thing: change you pursue on your own isn’t the same as change mandated externally, such as by organizational leadership.

Big difference, even for those who claim to enjoy change. Organizational, mandated change is fraught with uncertainty and the potential for negative impact – layoffs are often the first thing that comes to mind when companies announce strategic change initiatives.

In short, change we choose is a whole different thing from change imposed upon us. A change as huge as moving coast-to-coast – as I have done, happily – is different from suddenly discovering that plans for the day have become impossible, due to someone else’s suddently-announced course of action.

As change leaders, we need to recognize this. We need to understand that, although much of any change is outside of our control, change that’s mandated from leadership is outside of our control in very different ways – bigger ways – from change we’ve chosen.

And we also need to understand that different people have different levels of uncertainty tolerance, as I wrote about here in a LinkedIn article, and here in a LinkedIn post prior to that article. (Both are, at least in my opinion, worth reading, especially the comments on the post.)

People are different. As a friend of mine often points out, we are all an experiment of one. And that applies to our approach to change, our reactions to change, and our willingness to engage with unexpected and / or externally-imposed change.

Wondering how to understand the ways change impacts your team? Want to know more? Drop me a note through my contact form and we’ll set a time to talk.