Some of the resistance to change comes just from the dissonance of having something be different. Often, if we allow even a short amount of time, we’ll acclimate to the change as it was originally made and become comfortable without any further adjustments. It’s just that we pass judgment too quickly – and too many times others address our initial displeasure without giving the change time to settle in.

For example:

  • People get a new watch and “don’t like it” – not because the watch itself is an issue, rather because it is a different weight than the previous one. Within days we wouldn’t notice it, but we don’t give it that long.
  • Freshmen go off to college – and every year someone will call their parents to retrieve them before orientation ends. They have no idea what college is really like but are too fearful to find out.
  • A new procedure is introduced and people spend more time lamenting about it instead of learning it, and the powers-that-be rescind the change rather than fight the backlash.
  • As part of my redecorating spree, I purchased a throw pillow that I initially didn’t like, but came to embrace before I had a chance to return it – realizing that my main sticking point was that I had to get used to any pillow being there but that the colors really did work well with this one.

When your first reaction to a change is unfavorable, pause for a moment and consider what is generating your response. Before you back-pedal or return something, wait a few days and see if you don’t come to feel differently. It’s often love at fifth sight or twentieth, not first.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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