How to Change Your Response to Change

With change comes risk. While staying where you are now might feel safe, in the future, it reality might be a very dangerous place.

We all know the old saying that there is nothing permanent except change. How you respond when someone moves your cheese—and your understanding or how others do, either as patients, clients or customers—will help explain why people do what they do, use what they use, or buy what they buy.

Many have written about how humans respond to change and they seem to fall into three basic categories:

1. Resistors. This group has a negative approach to change. These are the snipers, naysayers, and critics who dig in their heels and resist and take pot shots at anyone who won't resist with them. They defend the status quo.

2. Gawkers. These folks have a neutral approach to change, at least outwardly. They hide their feelings and emotions and would prefer to sit on the sidelines rather than support or resist the change. But, like in politics where the independents increasingly decide the winners, don't mistake their silence or seeming nonchalance with their level of interest. In most instances, at some point, they will cast their votes even if they are part of the early majority, late majority, or laggards.

3. Leaders. These people have a positive approach to change. They embrace it and see the opportunities instead of the threats and create a vision for the future. They are the innovators and early adopters.

Change creates fear and the fight or flight response and invokes emotions similar to what happens when you lose a love object. You know the steps by now-denial, anger...

Which one are you? Maybe you should consider:

1. Your triggers. What change stimuli get your juices flowing?

2. Your cognitive response. What thoughts does change create?

3. Your feelings. What feelings do your thoughts create?

4. Your assumptions. Are they valid and how would you test them?

5. Your change value analysis. What are the tangible and intangible costs of change compared to the tangible and intangible benefits?

6. Your wiggle room. How firm are you and where is there room for negotiation when it comes to change?

7. Your behavior. What do you do when change makes you feel a certain way?

8. How much time you are spending dealing with change? How often during the day or week is this an issue?

9. Your changing how to change strategy. If you don't like what you see, what are you going to do about it? Most change strategies involve unfreezing unwanted behaviors, changing behaviors, and then refreezing and reinforcing the new behavior to prevent backsliding or relapse.

10. How are things working for you now? Are you OK with your approach to change?

With change comes risk. While staying where you are now might feel safe, in the future, it reality might be a very dangerous place.