Change is the only consistent thing we can count on. Why do we spend so much energy resisting it in our personal and business lives? What we resist, persists. In fact, resisting change can have small to significant effects. Some of these include effects on our health, relationships around us, and business outcomes. If we reframe the way we see change, then it may help us to reduce the negative effects and accept something different…maybe even better!
Let’s explore four ways that change can be better accepted and embraced in your organization. These strategies can be shared with others, discussed as a team, and incorporated into values for a positive impact in your franchise organization.
1st Reframe: See change as an opportunity to help us evolve into a better self.
Resisting change oftentimes is due to fear…usually fear of the unknown. This can include unknowns that we perceive as either negative or positive. Even when we arm ourselves with as much knowledge and preparation as possible, our fears can prevail.
One way to see change as an opportunity is to become comfortable with our discomfort. Michael Easter’s book The Comfort Crisis explains the importance of and strategies for embracing discomfort to reclaim ourselves. As leaders, share experiences where you have taken on a challenge that was uncomfortable. This shows courage, builds trust, and role models the behavior. Also, look for ways to celebrate when others take on an uncomfortable task that led to growth. Being inspired by others can help us reframe our fears and see an opportunity!
2nd Reframe: Understand that what worked last time, may not work this time.
The three sets of 20-lbs curls that led to your current biceps, will not improve them if you continue at the same weight. Change only happens if weight and/or reps increase. Similarly, what worked for a startup to launch its first viable product may not be what will take the company to the next level. For example, Amazon launched in 1994 as an online book seller…after iterating multiple times, they now sell almost everything.
In both scenarios, what worked originally, may not keep working without change. Organizations need both visionaries and doers. The visionaries are the telescope, always looking ahead to explore what’s coming up and how to prepare for it. The doers are the microscope, focused on the details and execution in the present. It’s important for the doers to trust the leader’s vision, allow for evolution, and execute the task to support change. Clear communication and a trusting foundation are vital for a leader to translate their vision into action which keeps the organization successfully moving forward.
3rd Reframe: Understand that resisting change can lead to problems within us.
Change can feel uncomfortable but resisting it has more devasting effects on our health. Without addressing problems around us, our bodies feel the impact which can look like anxiety, sadness, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, headaches, stomach aches, frequent colds and infections, jaw clenching, more use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many more.
Next time we recognize our resistance, we can begin alleviating our symptoms by increasing our self-awareness and exploring what’s going on inside us. Ask questions that help to better understand what we’re thinking and feeling. For example, ask “What am I trying to hold on to?” “What am I fighting against?” “Am I feeling out of control?”
Once we have a better understanding of “why” we are resisting the change, then we can do something proactive about it. Proactive coping strategies to reduce our resistance and related symptoms can include deep breathing, journaling, taking a walk or exercising. Also, voicing our feelings, like sadness, anger or fear, to another person can help. Lastly, if we’re resisting change because it is against our values or morals, then recognizing what else is within our control can help. Explore the opportunity to find a different organization whose mission and values are in better alignment.
4th Reframe: Understand that resisting change can also lead to problems around us.
Resisting and/or rebelling against change has consequences which include impacting the lives of those around us. This often happens in relationships and teams where one person holds onto something such as a memory, feeling, dependency, or life stage that directly impacts another.
First, begin with yourself. Self-awareness can help us identify if our resistance is impacting others. For example, if we’re reaching out to others, are we going about it productively? While talking to others has its benefits, it can quickly turn unhealthy and unproductive if the intention is to only focus on problems or strategies to prevent change. Before going to somebody else, ask yourself if previous conversations with him/her have generated solutions and/or ended with healthy relief or sense of coping with the concern.
Second, be aware of how other people’s resistance impacts us. Before diving into a conversation or responding to another person, ask yourself if these conversations are based on solving a problem or a person who is being framed as a problem. Also, in your opinion, do you believe this person is looking for guidance and/or support with coping strategies? Or has their previous agenda been negativity, gossip, and strategies to strengthen their resistance. If the latter, set boundaries by telling the person how you feel or what you need that is different. Sometimes feedback shines a light on a blind spot which quickly reframes previous thinking and behaviors. For example, “I noticed our last conversations have been focused on something negative or out of our control. I value our relationship and enjoy talking with you. Is there a way for us to focus on solutions or other things we can do to cope with the problem?”
Resisting change can have a direct effect on productivity, performance, culture and employee recruitment and retention. Being a productive agent for change can lead to better opportunities, reduced negative symptoms, improved relations around us and even progress forward.
Self-awareness, reframing thoughts, communication skills, and productive confrontation are all skills that improve with time and practice. Opportunities for professional development can set and build upon a foundation, then ongoing coaching and a growth minded environment can nurture positive changes.
Contact us to learn more so we can help support your team.