Why is change so scary?

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Why is it that any impactful self-help program starts with admittance?

Well, from what I’ve researched, it’s getting past the denial that you have a problem to begin with. As a brain-base leadership coach, I’m contacted all the time by decision makers who have some type of organizational people problem. I don’t want to give the illusion that the inquiry into our services means we have a rush of managers taking that monumental step.

The truth is most callers are a lot more comfortable planning an intervention for some other member of their team than themselves. As I listen patiently, I recognize that the contact person is ill prepared for our data that supports the most common oversight. The majority of the time we see that the cause of unrest usually begins at the top. A scary truth that typically burns a bit when introduced on first contact. Instead, I can only hope that as a direct witness to another person’s coaching process, they come to the realization that there is a whole lot more to the organizational monster we call disengagement.scary-thoughts-in-head

That doesn’t mean that once I’ve lead them to the proverbial water, I can get them to drink. So why is change so hard to accomplish, even when it’s clearly in the best interest of the company’s well being? For the purpose of this blog, I’m not going to get into the anatomy of the brain, but suffice it say, this 3lb muscle loves the status quo.

It’s basic brain functioning for the organ to be uncomfortable with change.

Human’s develop behaviors that are stored in our unconscious and act as our auto pilot. Trying to change the hardwiring that we’ve built over time is extremely difficult, which is why new concepts may cause an error message in our brain. These error messages can push people to become emotional. Once emotions set in, they can overcome one’s ability to be rational, and animal instincts take over. That means one thing. Big time fear erupts and eliminates the capacity or opportunity for higher learning. Now let’s think of this natural occurrence in terms of organizational or professional development… You can certainly understand how and why employees are not doing the happy dance.

Old habits may feel impossible to drive out of employee behavior, seeming as natural as breathing. But by shifting ingrained thinking in an organization with visible expectations, and encouraging the investigation of how our brain makes decisions, one can begin to turn that organizational monster into a productive counterpart. The first step is admittance.

So is the fear of change all in our head? You betcha!


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