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Sink as you Swim

In the New Economy, Change is toothpaste. If you don’t embrace it, others will force you out of their neighbourhood.

I still see the resistance to change everywhere, however. Â I offer two plausible explanations.

One is that the militaristic, autocratic way most of us were raised is still in the system, and many people are told to “innovate or die,” or worse, “if you won’t play ball, there are 100 people out there waiting for your job.” These statements fail to take into account the uniqueness of the individual contribution.

For example, the P.A. to a CEO understands the boss’s needs and preferences, has relationship with all key stakeholders, and is familiar with the company’s structures and procedures. Should he or she leave, it will take at least 1.5x their salary to attract someone who will still need to be trained, inducted, introduced and mentored for at least 2 months. But the carnage persists!

Another often-heard perception is that “people are adaptable – they’ll learn.” While this has inherent truth in it, this statement denies the principles of Value and Preparation.  By value, I mean that I need to see value in the perceived change, in order to embrace it. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who claim to have poor memory. Yet Jimmy, who can’t recall his Grade 10 History notes, can tell you the entire history of Manchester United, with the goal-record of 20 seasons internalised. Why? Because he loves soccer. It’s easy for him to read the results once and recall them forever.

If we want lasting change, then, we must take the time to show people the value of the change. And then Prepare them adequately for its effect. Show the positives, and why each person’s role will be significant.

Resistance will fade, and buy-in is more likely.

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