A lot of my work focuses on how to get people, teams, and organizations past the resistance to change that tends to crop up.
But resistance is not inevitable, though I’ve been known to say – wrongly – that it is. And yes, I’m calling myself out.
Change can be exciting and motivating, even in the midst of uncertainty and the awkwardness of learning new things. People can feel a deep sense of relief when the need for change is acknowledged and plans are formulated to move forward. And there’s a lovely sense of satisfaction in making progress, checking off milestones and celebrating improvements.
As a change leader, your understanding of each person on your team – and other stakeholders in the change who may not be part of your team, but are part of the process – will help you know where their tendencies lie. Are they likely to engage with our brains’ natural and normal negativity bias, where the potential for “something bad” to happen is their focus? Or are they more likely to be intrigued by possibilities and ready to jump in?
Neither reaction, nor anywhere in between, is “bad” or “wrong” – or “good” or “right.”
The “yikes!” folks are great at spotting challenges, defining risk mitigation for those challenges, and seeing how plans can be improved. The “yay!” folks are great at clarifying the benefits of the change, celebrating milestones, and helping maintain momentum.
When you understand where each of your people are on the “yikes-to-yay” continuum, you’ll be able to take advantage of their strengths to support the change and create sustainable success.
It’s that simple, yes. Not necessarily easy, though. Especially since any given person can be at various points on “yikes-to-yay” depending on their state of mind and the change you’re working to achieve. Nonetheless, understanding your people is an effort that takes time and care – and is absolutely worth both.
Learning to be a change leader means learning how to evaluate someone’s “yikes-to-yay” state. Want to learn more? Contact me and we’ll set a time to talk about it.