Ask managers why change fails and they will invariably say, “Because people resist it”. This is often as far as people get with the question – change is difficult because people don’t like it, it’s just a sad fact of life we must live with.
Equally, if you ask people about why they themselves don’t like change they tend to say something along the lines of, “Well nobody likes change, do they?”
But if people are the biggest problem might they not be the biggest solution? How do we get to the bottom of what bothers us so much about change?
The answer’s not simple; on the one hand we humans are programmed to be curious, but on the other we are also programmed to be wary. Our ancient ancestors, who foraged for food, soon learned that some fruits nourish you whilst others poisoned you. So it pays to eat fruit, but not without caution.
We need to understand how people are programmed to respond in different situations and set up our change initiatives to work with the grain of human nature rather than against it.