Is change hard? Or …?

Graphic of a clock segment in black and white with "time for change" written around the edge; the hands point to "change" which is written in red.There’s a common belief that change is hard.

I disagree. I think mostly change is uncomfortable.

The human brain loves routine, habit, consistency, familiarity. Shifting away from that – creating change – means the brain has to work harder… and fundamentally, the brain prefers to be lazy. It’s a neurobiological energy-conservation thing, as I wrote about here.

Leaders of change in organizations (and yes, individuals striving to create change in their lives) need to be aware that there will be discomfort, and normalize it by clearly stating that the work of change is never “comfortable” or “familiar.”

“This change is going to take us out of our ‘familiar zone’ and into areas where we will be learning new things, doing things differently, creating new routines, and building new processes and habits. This is going to be uncomfortable to at least some degree for every one of us. It can also be exciting and challenging and a great opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed.”

Variations of that statement, repeated often (because messages always need to be repeated for people to really hear them), can go a long way toward helping your people understand what’s happening beyond “here’s the change plan.”

Obviously this is only one small portion of your overall change communication plan (which I wrote about here).

But it’s a very important part if you want to avoid resistance and, instead, help your team participate willingly – and even with excitement – in the change process.

Setting your change initiative into context, providing the right amount of information to the various stakeholders – and making sure you’ve identified all the stakeholders involved! – is such an important part of creating successful, sustainable change!

Do you have a change communication plan in place? Would you like some support in creating it and reviewing it? Contact me and we’ll set a time to talk about it.