The Best Way to Change

I've heard it said that "the greatest barrier to change is success," and I believe it. Most people I know fear change and live their lives trying to avoid it in every way. To this day, no one in my family will deposit a check at an ATM, none of them will check in for a flight at the e-terminal self-service counters, none of them will purchase anything online, and not a single one will access a major account (stock, retirement, checking, savings, etc.) online. Too often, I see businesses that remind me of my family. They are afraid of change.

This article points out the conundrum faced by managers who fear change.

To some extent, we all fear change. Yet, we all want to change — our habits, our products or services, our productivity levels, our income. And we certainly know others we want to change — our employees, partners, spouses, children.

But sometimes, no matter how much we want to change, no matter how hard we try, we can't seem to make the transformation.

One problem is that we want change to happen overnight. Just as we go on extreme diets or quit smoking cold turkey, some employers expect employees to miraculously leave old behaviors behind and morph into model workers.

Certainly, sometimes the only way to really change is to do it drastically: quit producing an unprofitable product even if some customers still want it, jettison an impossible-to-please client even if we like the added cash flow.

But more often, change is a process rather than an immediate outcome.

It goes on to give helpful tips for change, and describes the best process for seeing it through.

51 Ways to Define Leadership

To me, the biggest issue with regard to change in a business is when to do it quickly and when to ease into it with baby steps. Sometimes large scale radical change is needed to shake people up and make them think. Other times, people will fight it so much that easing into it is the only way to go. I guess this is just another example of why leadership is situational.