Time and time again, in every area of my life, I am constantly forced to ask a simple question: Why are we so resistant to change?
Last week, my company was in discussions about their fear of allowing workers to telework. The executives were worried people wouldn’t work as hard without supervision. Still, they were also concerned about losing key employees to companies that now offer full-time teleworking options to their employees. The pandemic has brought changes to the workplace, and companies are feeling the pressure.
Perhaps you’re worried about taking a class, starting a new hobby, or even a new career. Whatever the changes, we seem to feel pressure to fight against them, and it can feel personal and almost vital to our existence. Even small things like changing a report form or requiring employees to document their work activities seem to make employees feel like they’re being asked to sacrifice their firstborn.
There’s Always More To Learn
In any group I’ve ever instructed on change, I have always asked the people in the room to raise their hand if they believe there is more for them to learn in their professional field. Without exception, almost all the people in the room always acknowledge they don’t know everything and that there is clear room for improvement.
I like asking this question because, in this setting, people feel comfortable admitting (to themselves and others) there is more to learn. I think this comes from a genuine place and that most people would love to improve some aspect of their life. Of course, some people feel comfortable admitting they can learn more because asking the question in this context doesn’t challenge what they know right now. Once a person feels their knowledge base is being challenged, then the level of resistance against change starts to go up.
For some, challenging what they know right now can make them feel at risk of being wrong in front of their peers. People also tend to wrap up their identity with their knowledge base, seeing them as the same. In this case, challenging a person’s ideas can make it feel like their identity is being challenged, making them feel a need to push back in protection…