Saturday, April 18, 2015

What’s your Psychological Response to Changes?

What is more interesting is what drives people's perspective.

Change is inevitable in any organization today, it’s not for its own sake, but for continuous improvement or even breakthrough to adapt to the business dynamic. However, the change inertia is also a reality. From Change Management and talent management perspective: How the age and different emotions response to changes? Is change friction really getting bigger when one gets older? Or does the lack of vision make people act old? Age or mindset, what’s the real obstacle to adapt to changes.

The industry study concludes it's not age that matters, but perspective: When people see that they have a future, they set out on adventures, create, and think. When don't they? They contract their world. That's the young (growth) mind vs. old (static) mindset. Keep in mind, the physical age and mental age is not always proportional; very possibly, the elder has an energetic mind, and the youth has an “older” mindset. It's not so much a stereotype as a research-tested phenomenon.

There is a distinct relationship between a person's emotional state and small or expansive thinking: When people experience a state of anxiety or uncertainty, they tend to drift back to the comfort of small thinking and getting their minds around points of detail. When that anxiety is removed and they experience more certainty, they have the courage to think more expansively. But these ways of thinking can flip quite easily as if at the flick of a switch. So the challenge with change is to create emotional states that mean certainty for the individuals affected, and have it stick. Not easy, but not impossible.

There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives: There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different psychological responses and thereby reducing anxiety because there are different psychological perspectives. For example, there are those who think logically, others focus bigger picture, and others are a lot more emotional in their decision-making. It takes slightly different approaches, timescales, and skills to unlock the anxiety.

It is important to build a culture of change: Perhaps the big challenge for businesses is when the change involves engaging with large numbers of people. That is where the 'herd instinct' can come in handy. That is, if you can adopt strategies and tactics that create groups of people open to change, then you can create an atmosphere which has people thinking "If we don't go with this change then maybe we'll lose out." Thus, people feel they ought to follow everyone else, and slowly they become more used to, and thus more comfortable with what's happening.

It is all about perspective. What is more interesting is what drives people's perspective. Those lack of vision are either incentivized incorrectly to focus only on the short-term; inexperienced outside of the small field in which they operate; too focused on their own self-preservation; or have no energy or desire left to think longer term. In addition, people all have biases, and the biases, are so inherited from such a long evolutionary history, that it won't probably be possible, or even preferable to erase them or "design them away" with policies or interventions. However, awareness of them is important, many of such biases are apparent at the same time, sometimes complementing each other and other times contradicts each other; so that you can reduce the harmful impact they might have, and leverage upon the beneficial. Make sure that when you make decisions, they are not based on opinions, but on a commonly understood starting points to make changes.

People neither love nor hate "change." The differentiator is that people embrace change if they understand the value adding to them. It is people’s understanding and perspectives of the result of change that will shape one’s mind, trigger the positive psychology, and drive one to behave in one way or another.


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