Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago · 4 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Battling Change and Sameness

Battling Change and Sameness

Nothing new happens without change yet people are often slaves to sameness, and even after embracing change, they will revert to their old patterns of behaviour and thinking. Why is this?

According to scientists, the reason we resist change is because our brains are hardwired to detect life threatening changes and engage in fight or flight behaviour. When we experience dramatic changes from an external source, we are naturally programmed to first feel fear and then to go on high alert and make a quick lifesaving decision. Our resistance to sudden change is an innate reaction to our environment. But what about when we choose to make changes in our lives? Why do we embrace those changes and fear change brought to us from an external source?

We embrace change more easily when it is our idea and when it doesn’t negatively affect our well-being. Humans seek out stability. For example, change in employment is perceived to be an exciting opportunity when it’s a promotion with better pay, but tragic when we are fired.

We are moved forward by positive outcomes and deterred by negative outcomes, so our perception of the outcome must be more comfortable than the place we are in. Divorce is a great example of how humans perceive change. When we are miserable at home, and our stability is negatively affected, we get up and leave, but only if we believe there is something better waiting for us on the other side. Many people will stay miserably married because the prospect of risking their financial stability, upsetting family members and being single for the rest of their life is unappealing. People who imagine they would in some way be better off after divorce, are more likely to make that change and will do it quite happily. Change, in this case, is much harder for the spouse who didn’t want the divorce.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift  - Bob Dylan

The hidden message in the above quote is that if you are in a position where you must force change upon others, then make sure in advance that the perception of continued stability remains untainted. Business consultants and change managers have a way of inadvertently instilling fear among employees. They put together a long list of things that must change and make rapid and sweeping improvements that scare the heck out of everybody, disrupt the flow of business and cause people to quit, call in sick, and spread discontent around the office. Consider using the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen to create change while maintaining stability. With Kaizen, you can have a large positive impact simply by committing to continuous improvement and making small steady changes over a longer period of time. Kaizen makes employees feel empowered and less intimidated by the process of continuous improvement. It allows them to become active contributors, thereby making it easier to embrace changes. You can also use this philosophy to make small, yet powerful changes in your personal life as well. 

So why do we fall back into old patterns? Sometimes it is because we take comfort in repeating behaviours that we know. Some studies suggest our tendency to revert to old patterns stems from overestimating our own ability to resist temptation. That makes good sense to me. If you are watching your weight for example, you will be setting yourself up for failure if you continue to keep unhealthy foods in the house, or if you think that having just one cupcake won’t be a problem. For most people, that kind of thing is always a problem, because they will gradually end up indulging at more frequent intervals and then, without even being aware of what happened, end up back where they started. Think of the alcoholic who believes he can have just one drink. It never happens. 

Anything that changes your values changes your behavior.  - George A. Sheehan

Changing behaviour also requires making a change in the way you think about the behaviour, not just removing the temptation. By adjusting your rationale and embracing new values, you will be more likely to keep yourself from wanting to return to your old way of doing things.

A great example of this can be found when people change their religion. They go from eating and drinking certain foods and indulging in behaviours they never really questioned, to leaving it all behind in the name of God. When you change your belief system and your values, you create an uncomfortable environment for those old habits to thrive in. If you can remain steadfast in your commitment to those values, you will have little problem with self-discipline. Be religious about your commitment to change. It will keep you on track.

In business, rewriting your company values to reflect the changes you want to make in your business is a good place to start. Once you have done that, it is important to continually communicate those values in everything you do. Incorporate your company’s values into all decision making processes, meetings, objectives and policies. When you do that, you will be more likely to successfully implement workplace change and not fall into the statistic of being among the 70% of businesses who fail at executing change.

The battle between change and sameness is part of the human condition but it is only a problem when we let it become one. Below are a few more resources for you to check out. 

My beBee post, Work the Plan: Secrets to Successful Business Execution provides ideas to help you execute change in your organization.

My post, Are you integrated? Nine tactics to facilitate workplace change may also be helpful.

You can view all my beBee blogs here.

Need to discuss changes in your company? I'd be happy to have a chat with you.


Renée Cormier is no ordinary public relations & communications specialist. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. Renée brings a wide range of experience and talent to her work. Her passion for business and her natural talent for business strategy and communications makes her an important resource for her clients.

We work with companies in transition to generate positive bottom line results! Contact Renée through her website: www.reneecormier.com

It is hard to find PR people with the business acumen and the valuable varied experience that I have. If you are serious about growing your business and raising your public profile, then you should talk to me.



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Comments
Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #20

Thanks for sharing, Stefano Lioiaano

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #19

#21
I agree completely! Thanks for sharing this post, Mohammed.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #18

Thanks for sharing this post, Matt Blanchfield!

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #17

#16
Well Randy Keho reading your comments I feel that oftentimes people who pose themselves as 'change managers' are rash, by their notions and decisions and try to implement random, baseless hiring and firing. Perhaps, a change leader ought to be a person who better builds healthy workplaces and integrated corporate culture while inspiring the workforce for growth and success.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #16

Good post. I presume that when we think of change, we ought to think more about development and figure out what will be the drawbacks. When we seek major changes, it has to be smooth transition, not sudden disruption that resembles like unwanted deviations, . Moving ahead, with tactical initiatives, and disclosing when it is required and analyzing well to deal in a just manner is all counted. After all, change is the most rule of life, and we have to embrace it willingly because anything still or static becomes lifeless, dull and unimpressive.

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 years ago #15

We're making a huge change right now as you know. It's very distressing and uncomfortable. Until it's done. And then it simply becomes your reality and you adapt to it. I work mainly for companies who want to change, and your stat on failing at change was quite telling. A lot of it has to do with accepting the inevitability of or the necessity for change. If you can embrace it enthusiastically, all the better. Obviously a lot of companies don't. Good stuff, Renee. PS I really loved your Burlington video too.

don kerr

don kerr

4 years ago #14

#16
No kidding Randy Keho

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #13

#16
Randy your story is a and old one. One that i never could grasp either. Why would you beat the date that brought you to the party?

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #12

#16
There is certainly no shortage of business executives who manipulate business results to increase their bonuses, surround themselves with yes men to protect their egos and run their agendas through their direct reports and conveniently use them as scapegoats when it suits them. That's why I love being my own boss!

Randy Keho

Randy Keho

4 years ago #11

It has been my experience that imposed change within a corporate structure is often a knee-jerk reaction to reductions in the bottom line. Instead of taking a realistic look at the current environment, which is often the result of changes that have already been imposed by top-level management as opposed to a change in the marketplace., they return to the practices that got them in trouble in the first place. They raise prices without justification and reduce staffing levels to cut costs. Eventually, they begin to micro management the entire operation. Long-standing customers are fleeing as soon as their contract with us expires. We've lost our integrity and their trust. My facility has been ranked between #1 and #3 in the country for the past 20 years. It has been relied upon to offset the losses of other facilities. Our general manager, who was once well-respected in the organization, recently retired after 20 years of service. His authority to run our facility had been steadily whittled down to nothing. He was being told how to conduct business. He couldn't wait to retire. Now, our division president is coming to meet with our current general manager to ascertain why we are suffering staggering losses in revenue only two months into the fiscal year. Our third in command walked off the job yesterday. No notice. Just "Goodbye." Do you think our president will be told the truth? Not hardly. It wouldn't matter, anyway. To corporate, it's never the fault of their initiatives. It's always our failure to make them succeed. He'll probably order a bonsai charge and expect our general manager to commit Harakiri if it doesn't succeed.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #10

#12
Yes, that's it, Robert Cormack. More often that not we have to make a personal agreement to push past our fears and do something different. I remember reading a book many years ago called, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. You can't let the "what ifs" in life deter you or you'll never get out of bed. Every step we take is the result of a quickly calculated risk that we won't trip and fall. Sometimes we fall and break something anyway, but we can't just lie in bed and allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear or worry. Taking a chance and doing new things empowers us. Embracing the mindset of knowing that you will be okay and that you will find whatever resources you need to be successful helps a lot. This reminds me of a post I wrote called, Discovering Wisdom, Success, Fate and Truth. Here's the link, if you are interested. https://www.bebee.com/producer/@renee-cormier/discovering-wisdom-success-fate-and-truth

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #9

Thanks for sharing, Milos Djukic!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #8

#11
Good idea!

Robert Cormack

Robert Cormack

4 years ago #7

When Dylan went "electric" at the Newport Folk Festival, he was booed until he said, "I don't believe you." Robbie Robertson could be heard saying in the background, "Shut up, Bob." Dylan forced change on a crowd that didn't want change. He made it happen, anyway, knowing in the end that it was inevitable. to some extent, we hate discomfort, hoping it will "take the other guy," but upon reflection—many years later—we realize that all we remember are the changes. Woodstock was an enormous alternation in consciousness, because it showed how 500,000 people could congregate in peace. We remember change because we know deep down it affects our betterment. Yet we fight it, just like we fight rollercoasters and ferris wheels. "I'm not doing that," you say, but once you're pushed to it, you discover something about yourself. You went up and down, you faced fear, and you still lived.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #6

Ren\u00e9e Cormier another great post, your articulation of moving towards a goal in opposition to running from failure is great. Change is hard on staff and partners. A good leader can lead folks in a way that energizes and doesn't use fear as the motivator. I would add though, the leader still knows the consequences of failure as they courageously execute this style of leadership. Maybe a post about managing the duality of this concept would enlighten other leaders. Thanks

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #5

#7
Thanks, !

David B. Grinberg

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #4

Thanks for more brilliant buzz filled with awesome advice, Renee. First, change is the only constant in life and work, especially in today's fast evolving high-tech digital, mobile and virtual world/workplace. Second, you make a great point about why employers need to continually communicate their company values and culture -- rather than leaving them on a shelf to gather dust via an outdated employee handbook. I've shared this is three hives. Keep buzzing onward and upward!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #3

#5
Very true. We get what we accept in our lives, every time!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #2

#2
Hmm. I never thought of it quite like that, but yes, we do work with certain formulas for success. Marketers, and PR people alike are very good at telling people what to think and creating "reality". I agree that it is definitely important to question what you hear. Manipulation of any kind, whether through marketing, public relations, politics, or your friendly neighbourhood psychopath often goes unrecognized and in the case of politicians and psychopaths, well, they rely heavily on influencing the ignorant. That's why we have people who support terrorists, fascists and the like. Thanks for your input.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #1

#1
Yes, I agree on the lowest common intellect directing the herd. We see this in the election of certain political candidates. That fear of losing acceptance is part of the natural inclination to seek stability. We need that strong foundation. Great comment. Looking forward to part 2.