Risk Averse or Change Averse?

The riskiest action in a changing environment is Business as Usual.   So why do managers repeatedly shy away from change—real, thoughtful, productive change— as they watch their markets erode?

The most likely source of change resistance is in the normal brain.  Your instincts are wired not to take you into the unknown or unfamiliar.

Same is good.  Same is safe.  Change is a threat.  Follow your instincts.

The problem with following your instincts in a changing environment is that your instincts are only as good as far as your experience extends.

That means that in a changing environment, your instincts are most likely wrong.

If you just pay attention to the internal experience you are having—“not familiar” means “fear, uncertainty and doubt—FUD.”  That’s your reactive brain speaking.  And your body feels it.  But it’s not your thoughtful, creative, analytic brain working.

You’re not looking at real risk.  You’re not looking at what action will give you the best chance at success–or survival.  That takes active thought, and sometimes overcoming the natural aversion to the unknown.  It means being willing to learn and be uncertain, and committing to figure it out.carwater

Imagine you are headed to a destination.  You’re following the road that leads there.  Suddenly, the road dead ends into a lake.  You can see your destination clearly on the island across the lake.  You have a choice to get out of the car and onto a canoe.

Your reactive brain screams: Its too risky to get into the canoe.  You don’t know how to handle the canoe.  Just stay in the car.  You feel so much more comfortable driving a familiar vehicle.  You’ve taken it through water (puddles on the road) before.  That’s probably all this is.

canoecropSo you drive down the loading ramp into the lake, feeling just fine about your decision until the water runs in around your ankles and up to your waist and the wheels lose traction so you can’t even back up.

Not risk averse…change averse.

Ruled by FUD.

Taking your company and all its employees down with it.

Wouldn’t you rather learn to paddle?

See my eBook of tweet-able quotes on Organizational Change at ThinkAha.com

kbk@theorganizationzone.com' About Kevin B Kreitman

Trained in systems, cybernetics and engineering, Dr. Kreitman’s major concern in life is why systems that look like they should work, don't--and how to design systems that do. Her years as a motorcycle mechanic and over-the-road trucker focused her on the value of “getting the rubber to meet the road.” She has developed unique, insightful, humorous approaches to help organizations tune-up their operations, as well as overhaul them to expand, re-focus, and move into new markets. A sought after speaker and trainer, she is committed to making people and organizations stunningly effective and self-sufficient.

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