At times in our lives we are all called upon to change. It may be our own initiative or one instigated by an outside force, a new company policy for example. Often we find change difficult. The law of inertia states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and that’s true for people too. So how do overcome our inertia and create change? Here are 4 things that resist change and how to defeat them.
1) Lack of information. Often we don’t change because we don’t have all the information necessary to show us just how badly that change is needed. People only do things for 2 reasons, to gain a benefit or avoid a loss. Without good information regarding the benefits or losses involved in making a change it will be very difficult to become motivated.
2) No urgency. People often come together in powerful ways during an emergency, and they exhibit behaviors that they otherwise would not. Barriers drop and people go out of their way, they change their behavior, to respond. Your change may not revolve around an emergency, but unless there is something to create urgency, people often remain complacent. Oftentimes this goes hand in hand with having the right information.
3) Perceived prosperity. This again relates to lack of information, but is a bit more subtle. If people feel like things are great they will not be inspired to change, to act. Beyond information this sense of wellbeing can come from choice of activities, spending habits, even tone of voice as an issue is discussed. When people are comfortable and perceive everything to be shipshape, they won’t change. To overcome this you need to identify actions, habits, or words that make everything seem well and remove them.
4) Low standards. When the standards are low it creates a perception that people don’t have to put forth maximum effort. If sub-par effort is ok, then we must be doing great right? It’s hard to believe you must change if you’re not even trying all the way at what you’re currently doing. The immediate response to a change initiative will be apathy. The way to overcome this is simply to raise standards. Get people involved and challenged. When people know they need to be at their best they are more likely to be open to new ways to improve things, i.e. change.
Whether you are looking to change something in your personal or professional life, or for yourself or a group of people, these four tips can help you accomplish those goals.