Everyone is familiar with this statement, whether you’re the one saying it, or the one hearing it. Why do people say this? What makes people decide that they are completely comfortable with their current standings and don’t want to change no matter what? What is the result of this concept of resistance to change and more importantly, how does it apply to leadership and leadership development? Is resistance to change due to the leader, or those individuals he or she leads?
Let’s take a step back and look at the core of the situation.
Change is defined as making the form, content, future course, etc., of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. The perception of the term ‘change’ is rather negative, even though it can prove extremely beneficial to any organization and any leadership development programs. In order to better understand how you deal with change, ask yourself these questions: What kind of influence do I have on not just individual change but organizational change also? What can I do to be an effective change agent? Lastly, what kind of programs can I promote/implement that will help myself, my subordinates and my supervisors successfully overcome change?
To get a real-world perspective on resisting change and to better understand the problems it can cause let me present to you an example that I have been dealing with.
At Purdue University,where I will be a senior in the Fall, I am part of an organization called the Interfraternity Council. This student organization is in place to act as the governing body for all the fraternities on campus. There is a policy in place that has not been followed nor enforced in the past decade. You can see how this can be detrimental to the Greek community as a whole.
When I joined IFC this past year there were decisions made to start doing things differently and enforcing this policy very strongly. This change brought about such an uproar in the Greek community that we were forced to take a step back and re-think our process of bringing about our desired change. Why did we receive such negative feedback and resistance? If you asked anyone they would simply give you the answer “this is the way we have always done things…”
Basically what it comes down to is you shouldn’t fear change, it’s not going to hurt you. In fact, it will most often times help you, whether it be an immediate short-term help or something that will assist you in the long-run.
In closing I leave you with a quote by Charles Darwin: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Guest Post From Adam, not your ordinary intern