New usually means scary

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Streets Avant-garde (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Streets Avant-garde (Creative Commons)

People fear change.

Change signals a departure from the familiar, even if what is familiar isn’t working well. It means having to think about things instead of being on auto-pilot. It involves stepping out into the unknown and may even cause you to stumble until you find the right path.

But much of the time, change is for the better, and can bring resolution to challenges or issues that make life easier.

I’m a big proponent of making things better, so I look at change as improvement. It’s silly to change just for the sake of being different, but I’m all about streamlining processes, taking out unnecessary steps, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.

Change also involves asking “WHY?” – a lot. About everything.

Why does this not work? Why does that work? Why are we doing this?

If there’s no value in an action and it doesn’t produce the result you seek, then why on earth keep doing it? When something takes too long or is too complicated, then why don’t we find an easier way?

If the answer to any of these questions is along the lines of “because we’ve always done it this way…” then something needs to happen really fast to put an end to that!

Communication has to be a huge part of change, and lack of communication often causes the most problems. The people involved need to be aware of and understand the changes as well as the reasons for the changes so that everyone is on the same page. Problems arise when you have things being done in different ways or the undercurrent of discord when there isn’t agreement on what needs to happen.

If you have spent the necessary time learning and understanding the current process, as well as connecting with the people involved before altering anything, then making the improvements becomes an easier process. You’ll also have more buy-in from your team or those impacted.

And those times that change is not under your control? The same principles can work. Focus on the good things that the change brings and the negatives will be more likely to fade into the background. Yes, there may be annoyances, but concentrating on the positives will make the change easier to get used to.

Change doesn’t have to be scary – it can be a great thing. One of my mantras is “Change is good!”