To make improvements in any organization means to change it. To move (figuratively or literally) from one place to a different place. But when the potential for change hits people, they often get defensive and shut it down. The familiar is a comfortable place to be. And the unknown is easier to avoid if we can. That’s why, as this article out of MIT’s Sloan School of Management points out, there are three obstacles to producing change in an organization, each represented with a different type of objection.
1. “That’s not what my experience has shown.”
The first challenge is a resistance to new data or information. The quickest way for the naysayer to discount it is to claim that they have never personally experienced it.
2. “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
The second challenge is a resistance to change. The current way is familiar and comfortable. A new way is unfamiliar and scary. Best way to discount the new way? Entrench yourself in history and go with, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
3. “That will never work here.”
The third challenge is the barrier of “organizational uniqueness,” which appears to be a nice way of saying that your organization is just so much different, more innovative, and all-out better than others that what works for someone else couldn’t possibly work here.
Imagine what kind of change you could drive in your club, office, or other organization if you did just two things with these above statements: (1) Refuse to use them yourself, and (2) when someone in the organization uses one, remember where it’s coming from and try to speak to their challenge around change.