Leadership Today
Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 8


Change and Its Paradoxes

Improvement is desirable, right? We made the case for that last time. When we ask any business audience if they can pin point opportunities to improve, we always get positive responses--even enthusiastic dreams for improvement.
Here is the catch. It rests in another question.
The answer to this question will always be different. -- If you come into your office or workplace next week, is it okay if things are changed dramatically? Are you okay with doing things differently than you always have in the past?
No logic is involved in the response to this. We just don’t like it.
The answer may not be an emphatic “no,” but it is usually no. Sometimes the “no” emerges as questions:
·         “Why do we have to do that?”
·          “Whose idea is this?”
·          “What is the reason for a change like this?” 
Or, it may take shape as derogatory statements and assertions: “That will never work here,” or “What idiot thought this up?”
Our response last time to the question of desiring improvement was based on logic, correct? If we can get better, it is logical that we desire to improve.
The answer this time is not based on logic, is it? No, these responses tend to be extremely emotional
Therein Lies the Paradox
Improvement is seen as positive—it is logical to want to be better.
Change is perceived as negative—it is a strong emotional response.
The paradox?—we cannot improve if we are not willing to change. 
I imagine all of you have heard some version of how Edward Deming addressed this in the early 1980s as a part of the quality movement. Some people have called it the definition of insanity—“to think you can keep doing the same things in the same ways and somehow get different and improved results.”  
Regardless of the paradox, if we seek transformation one message continues to be clear—dramatic improvement must be coupled with dramatic change.
Therefore, we need to understand this emotional human response to change so that we are prepared for it.
We have a model that does a nice job of illustrating graphically this human reaction. We will take a look at it next week.
Thank you,

Larry Meeker
President, Advanced Team Concepts

 

 

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