3 Reasons your Workforce Doesn’t Want to Change

Jeff Havens
Contributing Writer
The Jeff Havens Company

So you’ve want to roll out a new product/website/initiative/compensation structure, and you already know what your people are going to say. They don’t see the need for it, or that’s not how you’ve always done things, or they don’t think you should rock the boat. (That’s my favorite, by the way, since boats are literally designed for rocking and all of us enjoyed being rocked to sleep when we were younger.) You know the change needs to happen, but you don’t know how to get everyone else to see it the way you do.

It’s virtually impossible to get 100% buy-in from everyone. (If you don’t believe me, try deciding what movie to see this weekend with 8 of your closest friends. Ten bucks says you end up doing something else instead.) But here are 3 reasons your people might be less excited than you want them to be.

THEY HONESTLY THINK THINGS ARE GOING GREAT RIGHT NOW

Often, “I don’t see why we should change what we’re doing” is our way of saying, “Things seem to be going well right now, so I don’t understand why we would mess with a good thing.” If you can explain how you expect things to be improved with whatever change you want to implement, or if you can show them how the change you’re contemplating will help you avoid a problem that is looming on the horizon, you’ll get rid of a lot of objection.

THEY’VE FORGOTTEN HOW MUCH CHANGE THEY’VE ALREADY ENDURED

All of us eventually forget how we used to think when we were 7, or 15, or 23. Our brains have evolved an incredible ability to make us believe that we have always been the way we are right now, and sometimes we need to be reminded how laughably untrue that really is. If you can point out a change your team has already weathered – or better yet, one they can no longer imagine living without – you’ll make them more confident about their ability to deal with whatever’s coming next.

THEY’RE AFRAID THEY’LL LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT

All of us, at our core, are a little bit terrified that we will someday be revealed as a total fraud. Most of us do a great job of ignoring that nagging little voice, but every so often it speaks up and reminds us that we’ve been faking adulthood for as long as other people have been calling us an adult. If you address those fears directly and accept that they might even be legitimate, you’ll actually end up putting your people at ease, at least a little bit – because they’ll realize they’re not alone.

Basically, change is only scary when it’s accompanied by ignorance. The more we know, the less we fear whatever’s coming.

 

Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment. He is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, or to bring Jeff to your next meeting, email info@jeffhavens.com, or visit Jeffhavens.com.

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