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SEVEN WARNING SIGNS THAT YOU'RE FIGHTING CHANGE
Are you fighting change in your organization, or are you embracing it? Unfortunately, while you may think you’re pretty open to change and perhaps even welcoming its arrival, you may be deep down inside a
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change fighter. If you’re not sure which side of the fence you’re on or if you are absolutely certain that you’re a change lover instead of a fighter (and you wonder why everyone else seems to think the opposite of you), then be sure to be on the lookout for these seven warning signs of resistance to change:
Warning sign 1: You’re playing a new game with the old rules. As games change, you’ve got to learn the new rules; otherwise, you are bound to lose. As change washes over your organization, you are indeed playing a new game—a game in which the old rules are about as relevant as last week’s losing lottery numbers. If you find yourself playing the new game with the old rules, that’s one sure sign that you are resisting change in your organization.
Warning sign 2: You’re avoiding new assignments. Most people welcome new job assignments, especially when they help lead to new challenges, new opportunities and accomplishments, and perhaps even promotions and pay increases. If you find yourself hiding out when the new assignments are made, however, this is a sign that you have decided that you much prefer the comfort of the status quo to the adventure that is part and parcel with change.
Warning sign 3: You’re gumming up the works. Paralysis by analysis is a term used when a manager spends far too much time analyzing every possible angle in making a business decision, often bringing the organization to a grinding halt as it awaits the results of all this study. While a certain amount of analysis is required to make informed decisions, today’s fast-changing global business environment might not wait around for you to make a decision that takes too long. If you’re slowing down the decision-making process in your organization to a snail’s pace, there’s a good chance that you’ve become someone who is resisting change rather than embracing it.
Warning sign 4: You’re attempting to control the uncontrollable. Some things just can’t be controlled. You can’t make the value of
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your company’s stock go up when the markets have decided it’s time to go down. You can’t prevent a tornado from tearing up the railroad tracks into your plant in Topeka, Kansas. You can’t stop your competition from introducing a new series of products specifically designed to steal your key customers. If you’re trying to control the uncontrollable, you are not only wasting your time and energy—time and energy that would be better spent on dealing with the effects of such changes—but also clearly resisting the changes in your business environment that are not only unavoidable, but inevitable.
Warning sign 5: You’ve become a victim of change. There is perhaps no sadder sign that you’re resisting change than becoming a victim of it. Instead of embarking on the arduous path of dealing with change and figuring out how to use it to make your organization’s products and services more responsive to your customers’ needs, you take the easy road, stubbing your toe along the way and ultimately sitting out the change altogether. Sitting on the sidelines nursing your wounds might be a comfortable place to be, but you can be sure that everyone else will eventually pass you by.
Warning sign 6: You’re waiting for someone else to step up to the plate. Do you find yourself dragging your feet, hoping deep down inside that someone else will jump in and take charge—perhaps another manager, your boss, or even a competitor? Remember, waiting does not make change go away; it only delays an organization’s response to it. This delay can give the competition the leg up it needs to pull ahead of your organization in the marketplace.
Warning sign 7: You’ve become paralyzed. In its ultimate form, resistance to change results in paralysis; that is, the manager affected by it cannot make decisions or lead initiatives in response to change. The result? Utter failure. Your job as a manager is to make things happen. When you can no longer make things happen, then you have outlived your usefulness as a manager, and you become expendable—not exactly the place most employees in today’s leaner organizations want to be.
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What can you do when you find that you are exhibiting one or more of these seven warning signs of resistance to change? Become a change leader; that is, proactively lead change in your organization instead of resisting it. Here are some ideas for how to do that:
• Embrace the change. Instead of avoiding the change or pretending it doesn’t exist, deal with it—head on.
• Be flexible. Changes are occurring with increasing frequency in today’s fast and furious global business environment. This requires managers to be more flexible than ever in anticipating change and then dealing with it.