August 25, 2009

Fear of Change

Yesterday, I attended the AICC lunch panel discussion regarding the Emissions Trading Scheme and the move to a low carbon economy. In response to panel members' call for certainty, I asked whether this was achievable and whether instead we should look for consensus.

This was not well-received.

I had the experience of being publicly chastised as they reinforced business' demand for certainty. The heat of their response really spoke to a fundamental discomfort people have about change, and the drive to certainty to combat fears of the unknown.

But, the question still remains. In a highly complex situation with so many variables and wild cards, how can we create certainty? Take a moment for Paul Gilding's view on ABC Radio.

Given our attachment to certainty, how are we going to deal with the potential climate changes that even the experts say are unpredictable? If we can't change the circumstances, what can we do about our relationship to change?

I realise I am turning away from the panel member's original intent with regards to regulations and laws. But the idea of certainty and human being's attachment to it still applies.

most people are uncomfortable with change. Some are so frightened of change they perpetuate a toxic situation, behaviour or relationship for fear of the unknown. They are blind to their fear and the impact it has on their ability to make the right decisions.

Fear of change stifles business ingenuity. Fear of change blunts any leaders' ability to successfully implement necessary improvements to their business. Remember, culture eats strategy for lunch.

Human beings are extraordinary. Our capacity for innovative thinking and ingenuity is virtually limitless -
as long as we can be with change.

ow do we effectively deal with fear of change?

Distinguish the actual fear. Not the generalised experience of discomfort, but get to the specifics beneath it all. What is it exactly that you are upset about? Notice your concerns are really based on something that happened in the past which you've mapped onto the future.

Then, find the benefits of change. Keep listing benefits until they outweigh the fears. List at least 30 benefits. Tip the balance and you'll find the fear dissolves away.

Knowledge brings clarity. Clarity brings power. Power brings freedom. Freedom allows for innovation, creativity and solutions.

Our environment is changing fast and we must continue to find creative solutions to keep up with these changes. We no longer have the luxury to dwell on our fears. They're all behind you anyway.

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