Myths About Change

By Dave A. Jennings

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Attempts to implement change often meet with resistance. Despite the effort invested in new ideas, they don’t always work out. To identify what can go wrong and to help ensure future success, consider the following myths that defeat change.

Myth 1: It’s not a big change. Change affects everyone in different ways. Those attempting to implement it may be more comfortable with change in general; they may also be less affected by the specific plans. However, even seemingly minor changes can impact group dynamics, personal scheduling, and other concerns, and thus create negative responses. By involving people in the process from the start, one can understand the potential impact and smooth the path toward success.

Myth 2: This isn’t personal. This myth allows people to see things in black and white; however, all change is ultimately personal. To get people to invest personally in change, listen to their concerns, respect others’ feelings and contributions, and help them adapt successfully.

Myth 3: We don’t have to involve them; they can figure this out. Not including others in planning change can adversely affect the outcome. Communicating can be difficult, as can opening an idea up to criticism and input. Nevertheless, people more readily support changes they develop, and respond more positively to guidance. Bringing people in early and presenting information to them pays off down the road, with fewer delays and problems; they adapt more readily. Make a plan to present the change, lay out the options, and explain the conclusions. Ask those involved to invest in the plan’s success and to continue to communicate.

Myth 4: We will figure it out as we go. Although many things must be figured out along the way, the fewer the better. The lack of a plan means rework and frustration. Create an inclusive plan at the outset to avoid difficulties later.

Myth 5: People should just get on board. We all have habits that resist change, even positive change. Those leading change can help by understanding that changes do not necessarily garner instant support. Expect resistance, and learn from it.

Myth 6: They understand why we are doing this. People react to constantly shifting realities. An agreement one day doesn’t mean someone will support you later. Follow up on communication. Keep others informed about progress. Ask for advice when you need it.

Dave A. Jennings, PhD, is a speaker, consultant, and author specializing in leadership, communications, and change resilience. He has helped organizations such as Deloitte & Touche, Panasonic, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft, and can be reached at or (888) 992-1212.




















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