Read the full article at:

This blog may take three minutes to read, tops.  It’s not deep research or complicated thought.  It’s not new or original.  But, it is right-on. And remembering its message could make the difference between successful or unsuccessful change for your business.

The message?  Resistance to change is emotional, and a sense of loss is the initial emotion people feel when confronted with change they did not initiate.  

It’s a simple concept but often ignored by leaders who want to make change all about business.  In our professional lives, as in our personal ones, change involves loss of some kind.  Changing jobs, going through a reorganization, getting a new boss – all have a degree of loss, and, hopefully, a lot of gain.  But the loss comes first.  It is personal, emotional, and typically, we want to avoid it.  So, we resist the change.

“They [people] may not even be able to describe what they are feeling, but the emotion is more powerful at the time than the excitement the change may bring.  And, it may not even be the emotions we naturally think. We assume anger, confusion, or fear. And, while those are often true emotions of change, in my observation those aren’t the most common or at least initial emotions.  There is one which comes first and impacts all the others…a sense of loss.”

“Translate that sense of loss into the organizational context:

  • Loss of power
  • Loss of comfort
  • Loss of control
  • Loss of information
  • Loss of familiarity
  • Loss of tradition
  • Loss of stability”

Familiar feelings, aren’t they?

A leader’s responsibility is to understand these feelings exist and help people work through them.  As Edmondson suggests, “I have found, as a leader, if I understand what people are struggling with I’m better prepared to lead them through it. Some people are never going to get on board with the change, but many times people just need someone to at least acknowledge their sense of loss. It doesn’t eliminate the emotion, but genuine empathy allows me to keep leading.”

 Contact us and we can help you better understand and improve your change leadership skills so your change efforts have a higher likelihood of success.