Jason Clarke, founder of Minds At Work, talks on Embracing Change at TEDxPerth conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: jason-clarke-on-embracing-change-at-tedxperth
This is where it starts. Someone gets up at a TED Talk and says, “Behold, we don’t have to do it like this. I’ve got a better idea. There’s another way. There’s another technology. There’s a new way of seeing the world.” And the new guys go, “Wow, that’s fantastic. We’ll go out and create change.”
And you can’t wait to go to your workplace or go back to the people that you live with and say, “Rejoice my people. There is a better way. It doesn’t have to be this way.” And you’re expecting the whole world to go, “Fantastic, it’s going to change.” And this is what you hear. You go, “Come on, we can do this, we can totally do this.” They go, “No. You know what? Because we’ve done it before” or “Now’s not a good time” or “We haven’t got the money” or “It’s been done. It’s never been done. That’s not the way we do things around here. It’s not part of the charter. It’s traditional. It’s complicated. It’s political.”
Do you recognize any of these? Of course, they’re all different ways of saying this. They’re all just different ways of saying “It’s not going to happen.”
So what I’ve been doing, I work in the innovation space, I’m interested in this wall, and how do we get past this wall. How do we take our passion and our ideas and actually make them happen? So I’ve been trying to figure out, what this wall is made of and how do we get past it? If we can’t get past it, go under it, go around it, or just smash through it.
The first thing you need to know; these aren’t real reasons. These aren’t real reasons. That becomes pretty clear because they’re so easy to refute. If they say for example, “It’s always been like this”, what does that mean? It means the problem is older than you think it is. It’s not an argument for not changing it now. It’s a reason why we should have changed it 20 years ago. When they say, “It’s the same everywhere” what they’re really saying is the problem is broader and wider than you think. That’s not an argument for not fixing it here, it’s an argument for fixing it everywhere.
When they say for example, “It’s not in the budget”, it means we’ve spent the money in the wrong places. Right? When they say, “It’s not in the charter”, what they’re saying is the people who were supposed to provide the vision weren’t thinking as big as you. When they say, “It’s political”, what they’re saying is, “I’ve learned to keep my ideas to myself.” When they say, “It’s just traditional”, what they’re saying is, “Actually, I don’t know why we’re doing this, but it’s always been that way.”
OK, and the thing is, they are so easy to refute. So when they say things for example like, “It’s too complicated”, you say, “I can make it simpler for you.” When they say, “You know what, it just sounds like it’s too simple”, you say, “That’s okay, I’ll make it more complicated.” My favorite one, a friend of mine got this one the other day, “This isn’t what we pay you to do.” And his answer was, “That’s okay, this one’s a freebie.”
So if these aren’t the real reasons, then what are? What are the real reasons, “No.” No one will tell you what the real reasons are, but I’ve been collecting them. I’m going to show you the seven most, the classic reasons why people resist change and what to do about them.
“I’m too full of emotion and fear to think about what you’re talking about.” This is a big one. “This has all come as a huge shock.” That just means, “Thanks for the heads up. No one told me about it and now I’m just dealing with horror.”
“I’m scared of the transition, not the idea.” Very often we think they don’t like the idea, what they’re really worried about is the journey to the idea.
“I don’t know how big a deal this change really is.” “I don’t see how I fit into any of this.” “I feel like I have no say in what happens.” This is really what people are saying. The one that cracks me up, the big one is this one, “I’m fed up with phony change. I want the real thing.” Very often when people are saying, “No it won’t work”, they’re not saying they don’t want change. They’re saying, “I want change that’s real. I want something I can believe in.”
Let me take you through these one at a time. I was dealing with a group of people who were supposed to be planning the future of their organization. And 20 minutes before I turned up they all got fired. The organizer said, “Maybe we don’t want to do the workshop now”, because it was going to be about the future. I said, “No actually this is more of a reason why we have to have the workshop now. We just have a different context. What will the future be for these people?”