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It’s no secret that human beings struggle with Change. We are creatures of habit. But, our resistance to change is our private business, right? Sadly, no. If you’ve ever pitched a new software or system, you know how resistant companies usually are. Even when what you are offering is undoubtedly better.
The first step towards solving a problem is finding out what’s causing it. This article breaks down why companies resist change and how one can overcome it.
It’s common knowledge that most companies are notoriously set in their ways.
However, it is important to remember that
Corporations are made up of humans.
And most humans hate change with the fire of a thousand suns.
So, what can one do in such a situation?
Before we get to how to overcome resistance to change, we must first understand why humans are averse to change, in the first place.
Once upon a time, Heraclitus, a famous, dead Greek philosopher claimed that Change in the only constant. He said, “We both step and do not step in the same river. We are and are not.”
Basically, he meant that change is unavoidable so all of us must get on with it.
Unsurprisingly, just like corporations, we have a tendency to either passively avoid or aggressively resist Change. Cognitive Psychologist, Michael Mahoney remarks that humans dislike Change because
Humans are fundamentally conservative creatures.
He further adds that, “This is not our fault. Coherence and continuity are built into our life support”, and are also reflected into our psychological habits.
“We not only seek order but we also need it. We are organized by systems of activities and are often very protective of our own patterns.”
Basically, we are psychologically pre-programmed to crave the comfort of the status quo. Which is all well and good but as Kierkegaard claimed,
To be human, is not a fact, but a task.
Which means, that life is a continuous series of change and challenges.
Resisting Change, however can be harmful in the long run. Especially, when it comes to our professional lives, it can have disastrous outcomes for you and your entire company. Then, why is it that most people still resist changing software vendors or systems?
Before we to the part about how to manage Change, we should know WHY companies resist it, in the first place. (Especially when the new software/system is better than the current one)
The cost of switching software/system is almost always high. In most cases, it’s not just about the cost of your software + service versus the current vendor. It always entails retraining employees, making organisational changes, adopting new processes, and many other non-quantifiable elements.
Unfortunately, sometimes the overall cost of switching software/system is just too high for companies to manage.
Together with Cost, Bad Timing is the most common reason why companies resist changing to a new system.
Take a minute to picture this.
A company has just gone through months long process of evaluating different softwares, talking with several vendors, conducting meetings with decision makers, getting them to sign off on the budget, training employees
You contact them to pitch your software/system.
Ever if your software is a hundred times better, there is no way that they will switch.
Sometimes, the timing and the cost of switching to new system is simply much higher that the benefit that they will derive from it.
While there is little that we can do about the above two reasons, resistance to change because it means ‘More Work’ is slightly easier to manage.
Any software or organisational change will initially mean an increased workload for all affected employees. Which is why, we resist switching systems. Learning a new software, training employees, getting used to the changed software just seems like a lot of work.
Changing to a better/ new system is usually unavoidable and increases work efficiency, in the long run.
Which usually means, less work later on.
Our professional work, is in large part based on habits. We work in our set ways, based on those habits. Any shift or deviation from those are met with a lot of conscious or subconscious resistance.
Emotional comfort often triumphs over Objective Pragmaticism.
It’s true that Change, especially in the workplace brings about a lot of anxiety. Good leaders recognise that it’s natural and help themselves and then, their employees overcome it.
Different people react to Change differently. A few enjoy it since it gives them an opportunity to grow and learn, personally and professionally. However, most people abhor it because it signifies a rupture on their set routine.
Change is rarely easy.
But our staunch resistance to change only produces more disappointment and suffering, in the long run. Resisting switching to a new software/system now can often lead to more work and disaster in the future. The first step towards solving a problem is finding out what’s causing it. Addressing our resistance to change and learning how to overcome it is a great step towards Growth.
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