Change is hard… we resist change and whether you like it or not change brings an emotional cycle, the grief cycle. Sometimes we can move through this very quickly and not even be aware that it is happening, at other times we will get stuck in the process somewhere along the way.
It takes time to adapt or accept a new situation or circumstance. From an agricultural or natural resources management perspective when we present farmers with new data, new information and new ways of doing things we are asking them to undergo change. We are often excited by the opportunity and wonder why they don’t jump on board and get excited too.
We need to particularly careful when the change is forced as this tends to cause immediate resistance – it’s not wanted or expected.
However, if you’re the one making the change, this emotional cycle is much simpler because of acceptance.
Reactions to change are often unconscious and there are three basic elements.
- The head element, the thoughts or logic that apply to the situation
- The heart element, the beliefs and emotions you feel toward the change
- The gut element: the reaction to the change
Depending on the scope of the change, people may feel their basic needs are being attacked:
- Distortions of perception: “Did he say what I think he said?”
- Previous experience: “Do you remember the last time they did this?”
- Fear of the unknown: “How will this affect me
- Need for knowledge: “Must I relearn everything again?”
These factors form the core of resistance to change. Change won’t be accepted until a good deal of effort has been expended on providing both information and dealing with the emotional reaction. Until this is dealt with people who resist change will expend a great deal of effort resisting.
Involving people from the outset of any change process is the best way to create lasting change and early acceptance. More ideas about managing change to come in a later bog.
Welcome to 2015! I hope you have had a good start to the year. I look forward to sharing more blog posts with you throughout the year.