Increasing Willingness To Organizational Culture Change: Train Your Brain

After completing the organizational culture assessment, you can decide to realize a few changes in your team or organization. But a number of people are reluctant or simply resist organizational culture change. Or they change a bit but return to business-as-usual the moment you turn your back on them.

What makes people worry about change? Why do we all think it’s hard? Let’s look at a few ideas to increase willingness to change.

Many people fear change. Change means going into a different world and brand new encounters. You aren’t quite sure what to expect: will you be “safe and sound”?

From an evolutionary standpoint, it is wise to handle change with caution. The familiar condition might not be perfect but at least provides protection: “Maybe there is a cave bear outside the cave, better stay inside.”

This perspective is what the development of the human brain is based on. Likewise, our appreciation increases when we see people repeatedly (because they become harmless and familiar). We tend to consider things that happen over and over again as true and evident. We get accustomed to the circumstances as they are. We adjust our conduct to circumstances and begin to appreciate it: because we get used to it.

Rewire your brain and move out of the cave

However, this behavior doesn’t always lead to the best results. The unfamiliar territory may turn out to be safer, more fertile, or better than the familiar ground. But you won’t know if you don’t delve into it. Eagerness to change will lead to progress to humanity (and organizations). So leave the cave!

Anyone can train readiness to change step by step. Getting through the typical manners of thinking and acting will provoke innovation and development on several levels. It commences genuinely simple by breaking through everyday routines that are not emotionally charged and hence becoming acquainted with the “strangeness” of change.

The more you test, the easier it will be to change, even when it doesn’t concern a routine task. The brain will make new links and get accustomed to feeling unaccustomed.

This makes it easier to manage with change. Likewise, by doing elementary tests, the brain discovers that “change ended up better than presumed, that you were still in safe hands, that nothing bad has happened.” Furthermore, you have gained new information.

Getting into the habit of feeling unadapted

So when you’re facing reorganization, merger, or other changes in the near future, get yourself ready and have a go at this:

  • Fold your arms. You will always do this in a particular way: right or left arm up. From now on, do it exactly the other way round, until it doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore.
  • Change places when sitting at the table or change desks with a colleague. Your perspective will literally change.
  • Take a different route when going to work. What new information does this provide?
  • Have quite different foods for lunch than you typically have. What information do you get?
  • Follow the example of a co-worker—somebody who has a totally different routine—and imitate their manner of working. What do you learn?
  • Reschedule your pause. Spend it in a different place or pause more often doing exercises. Afterward, the same work may feel different.

Do you have any other good tips to enhance willingness for change? Please share them here!

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