Embracing Change

- a story about feeling safe

It’s monday morning, and you are working as an editor in a Company that produces exclusive wedding invitations. For the past 15 years you have been writing wedding invitation by hand, because it make the invitations more authentic and personal. After years of practice your hand writing is beautiful, authentic and almost perfect. It almost makes the wedding invitations look like a piece of art.

At lunch you overhear someone from accounting suggest that you buy this new computer program that just came out. According to the latest research the program can be adjusted to print the invitations so it looks like it was written by hand. It can even introduce small differences in the way it writes letters, so the invitations really appear to be written by a human.

You have never really worked with computers before, but have heard from a couple of friends that computers have made a lot of jobs obsolete. You now have 3 fears that kicks in:

  • Your job (which you love) is in danger.
  • You’re unable to learn how this new computer program Works
  • You are unsure if the computer program will even be able to do the job right

On Tuesday afternoon, your boss shows up at your desk and asks you to help evaluate the computer program you heard about during lunch yesterday. Your boss tells you that he really appreciates your extensive experience and excellent skills,  and therefore believes you will be perfect for the job.

Do you feel motivated to embrase change?


Creating safety

Before you can ask anyone to embrace change, you need to understand where they are coming from, and do what you can to remove their fears. In the case above you would probably have been a lot more motivated if you were:

  • promised job safety
  • offered professional training in the new computer program
  • told that even mistakes and failures were valuable, since they would help the Company learn.
  • free to either accept or reject the software solution based on your professional opinion.

As leaders and coaches we can never forget that we are dealing with people, and that everyone is different and have different perspectives. The leader (Boss) may have thought that this would be a really interesting project, so of course you would love being involved. However, as your mind has probably told you, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So do I have a recipe for ensuring safety?
I could probably create a list, and may even make a fortune selling it to everyone who is looking for the easy way out. However, If you try to reduce a change process into a “to do” list, you will most likely experience a ton of problems. As the word indicates, changes mean the introduction of something new, and since the objective of the change most often has a big impact on peoples motivation to change, it would be naive to think there’s a universal formula for how to ensure safety.

Instead of trying to deal with change as a rational measurable process, you need to activate your emotional intelligence and use it as part of how you collaborate with others.

If you have found this article inspiring, then please share the word.