Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 10
Change is Stressful
Recall the physiology associated with stress—the “fight or flight” response. That instinctive reaction has not somehow retired from our human condition. It is normal, alive and well.
When we are under stress, when emotions are strong, the chemical changes in the body are very real. The responses to increased adrenaline can be vivid.
A lot of people know about the health risks associated with heavy-duty stress. They can have serious consequences.
Another aspect of the “stress response” is not so widely recognized. When we are under a lot of stress, our bodies prepare for physical activity. But, what these reactions don’t equip us for is great thinking. The preparation to react is not preparation to be deeply thoughtful and logical.
That increases the challenge. Logically addressing change is compounded by what is happening to us physiologically as a function of the stress.
That does not mean that some people don’t thrive on high stress. You probably know some. We do. They seem to live for the “adventure of change”—trying new ways to achieve preferred results.
It is true; not everyone is affected to the same degree by change and stress. Several personality tools are based on Hippocrates’ four quadrant model of personality styles—Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic. An in-depth tool that we use is the PREP: People, Reading, Effectiveness, Profile instrument (Copyright © 2006 PREP Profile Systems, Inc.) It measures intensity in CORE behavioral categories:
C- Controlling vs. supportive
O- Outgoing vs. introspective
R- Relaxed vs. urgent
E- Exacting vs. generalizing
This tool helps us recognize our natural personality strengths, and also highlights patterns of preference that are a function of the combination of intensities in all of the elements. In other words, we are not one style and absent of all of the others. It is these categories in combination that lead to the way we prefer to act and behave.
The research indicates that people with a stronger preference in some behavior elements can be more comfortable with change. They do not mind so much the changes if they enable better outcomes. On the other hand, some people are uncomfortable with change. They prefer to navigate in the environment in which they are accustomed.
Here, as with any area of change, we recognize that we are individual human beings. As you study to navigate transformational steps for your organization, prepare to embrace the human reactions that you will encounter, in yourself and in others.
President, Advanced Team Concepts