No Pain, No Gain
The exercise training adage advocating that there is no gain if there is no pain can be adapted to organizational change theory. We used to think that a compelling vision for change combined with a strong drive to achieve was enough to motivate and propel change in an organization. What we have learned is that an equally and sometimes more powerful driver is dissatisfaction associated with the avoidance of pain or dissatisfaction with the status quo.
As the Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, discovered and outlined in his Prospect Theory, losses are about twice as painful as wins are sweet. In an organization, this translates to a situation where dissatisfaction (the potential negative aspects of staying the same) often carries more weight in people’s hearts and minds than any potential gains.
What Stands in the Way of Organizational Change
Change management consulting experts know that organizational change is difficult because it challenges the more familiar status quo and looms threateningly over the unknown future. But when you can marry the pain to the gain, change becomes more compelling. There are three main reasons organizations resist change:
The Bottom Line
Most people favor decisions that maintain the current state of affairs. They not only feel validated and reassured when they stick to the usual ways of thinking and acting, but they also tend to weigh potential losses more heavily than potential gains. Leverage the pain-gain formula to increase dissatisfaction and paint a compelling picture of the better days to come.
To learn more about how to better manage organizational change, please download The 5 Ways to Assess Change Leadership – Backed by Science
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