The Fear of Change

What’s pre­vent­ing your or­gan­i­sa­tion from be­ing able to re­act quickly to in­dus­try or mar­ket changes asks

Business First - - INVESTMENT - Ash Dhanak.

Why is there re­sis­tance when­ever you try to im­ple­ment a new idea? How come the best-laid plans of lead­er­ship al­ways seem to end with your peo­ple re­vert­ing to the old ways of do­ing things, as soon as they leave the train­ing room?

Could it be that old en­emy of or­gan­i­sa­tional change: fear?

McKin­sey & Com­pany claim that 70 per­cent of large trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives fail to meet their goals and here we look at why that might be. THE RE­AL­ITY OF FEAR Fear is one of the most ba­sic hu­man in­stincts. It harks back to our prim­i­tive past, when our fears were raw and based on sur­vival – ev­ery day was a strug­gle to find food, shel­ter, and safety.

Our brains haven’t changed much since but our cir­cum­stances have. So we ex­pe­ri­ence the same fear re­sponses but they are ac­ti­vated by dif­fer­ent trig­gers.

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists have shown that the amyg­dala area of the brain is more ac­tive un­der threat. This is es­sen­tially the ‘fear cen­tre’ of the brain and ac­tiv­ity here re­stricts blood flow to the pre­frontal cor­tex, which is re­spon­si­ble for the ‘higher’ think­ing pro­cesses. We rely on these ‘higher’ pro­cesses to make well-con­sid­ered de­ci­sions.

So, when a new man­ager is un­ex­pect­edly in­tro­duced, you are sud­denly told to start us­ing a new sys­tem or process with­out ex­pla­na­tion, or ru­mours of re­dun­dancy start to spread, our brain’s fear cen­tre is ac­ti­vated. A ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ re­sponse re­leases stress chem­i­cals and our more prim­i­tive brain takes over.

When change is im­posed sud­denly or with­out ap­par­ent rea­son, the stress re­sponse is nat­u­ral. But in this state, it is very dif­fi­cult to pro­duce pos­i­tive

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.