All Back to Zero

Many managers decry the resistance to change displayed by their people.

Managers typically complain about people who are reluctant to change. Yet we think there are often good reasons for the resistance…

I was speaking with someone recently who was explaining how he was open to change.

“In my lifetime, I’ve learned how to use videos, computers and many others things”, he said. “Why can’t others grasp change”.

With respect, this gentleman was well intended, but he’d got it wrong. When change adds to what we can do, very few people are re­sistant to it. Very few people have resisted using a microwave oven – it adds to what we can do.

When change replaces what we do, we strike resistance.

In the early days of computers, I used ‘Multimate’ as a word proces­sor (any of you remember that?). I was hugely resistant to crossing over to Microsoft, because it meant that everything I had learned for Multimate was redundant – I had to start from zero when I switched.

So it is with organisational change. So often, people perceive that they must return to zero if they are to embrace a change – and that’s extremely difficult.

In addition, in learning the new way, many people are concerned that they will be exposed for their inability to pick up things quickly.

Is it any wonder that many peo­ple are resistant to change?

When change adds to what we can do, very few people are resistant to it.