Friday, June 5, 2020

Lean Quote: People Don't Resist Change So Much As They Resist Being Changed

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"People don't resist change. They resist being changed.  — Peter Senge

It’s often said that people don’t resist “change” so much as they resist “being changed.” 

Yes, it is true things cannot get better without changing. But even knowing this we generally dislike change. We fight it, delay it, and argue against it.

WHY is this so? I’d like to offer three reasons. I’m not suggesting these are the only reasons. But I suspect they cover the majority of reasons we resist change.

Change makes us uncomfortable. We resist the change that requires changing ourselves because changing ourselves is uncomfortable. We get used to the way we are. We become accustomed to the way we do things. We become entrenched in the way we think. Changing these things brings uncertainly and unpredictability. So we resist.

Change makes us fearful. Change implies that the future will be different than the present. And because unknowns create uncertainty, and because uncertainty creates fear—change makes us fearful. Fear does not sit well with us. We avoid it when we can. One way to avoid it is to resist change. So we do.

Change requires work. Even if we see that the change will be beneficial. Even if we know that the change is necessary. We still resist it because we don’t want to do the work required. We settle for not making the change because in the end it’s easier. We choose easy over hard. We choose neglect over resolve. We choose the easy and familiar path over the hard and unknown path.

We don’t really resist the change—we resist changing ourselves. Change makes us uncomfortable. Change makes us fearful. Change is hard work. The next time you’re faced with a change, it might be good to keep this in mind. It may help you plunge in. It may help you not only face the change, but actually embrace it.


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