August 11, 2022

Opportunities-Obstacles Quotient (QO2) Profile

Change fatigue

In our experience coaching teams, we see two types of people when it comes to processing change. The first type thrives on new experiences and challenges, while the second tends to resist them at every turn. The former embraces change as an opportunity to learn and grow, while the latter feels put upon and exhausted by anything that doesn't fit into their idea of what "normal" should look like. And yet, both are present in teams across all types of workplaces, no matter the sector.

In general, resisters tend to come across as negative, narrow-minded, and contrary. Their hesitation to embrace change is often their way of conserving energy and avoiding the unknown. They may even view change as a threat they must fight or escape. Those who embrace change, on the other hand, are open to new experiences and challenges, often because they are more attuned to evolving circumstances. Both groups derive a sense of meaning from their work and seek to contribute something of value. Sometimes, however, change requires us to admit we were wrong, or that we let go of an old idea or preconceived notion.

The difference between attitudes towards change isn't simply rooted in confidence or fear. It's a matter of motivation. When resisters hold onto old habits or ideas, they are less likely to embrace change, and they tend to be more cautious. When people embrace change, on the other hand, they tend to make adjustments that bring more benefits than they give up – such as learning new skills. And while there's some truth to the stereotype that people who crave variety and challenge are more open to change than those who seek the status quo, this isn't always the case. It may be even less accurate in a team setting, where people need to adapt and work together to achieve their work goals.

In our experience, there are some critical differences between resisters and people who embrace change. First, resisters are more likely to stay in a job or project longer, because they're often engaged by what's familiar and comfortable, rather than driven by new challenges or new situations. Second, resisters may be more receptive to developing skills for the future – such as learning new leadership styles or communication processes – but they may not always incorporate this knowledge into their current projects or plans.

The good news is that change in a team setting can be approached in several ways:

Some types of change are better received than others. Perhaps the most challenging for people to embrace are those changes that impact on a personal level, such as organisation restructures, job reallocation or even the assignment of new responsibilities. On the other hand, minor changes – such as using a new tool or adapting a routine – are often easier to take because they don't appear to impact the equilibrium. Building a culture that embraces regular, small changes may help teams become better prepared for future changes that involve more significant commitment.

Teams may be more receptive to change when they can talk about their concerns. Just make sure they're open to hearing your feedback too! In many instances, it helps to provide a forum for team members to voice their concerns and share their ideas. Whether in a small team setting or a town hall meeting, setting the right tone for change can help people discuss any concerns before it's too late. Also, encourage them to suggest ideas that might make the change easier, or ensure its success. This gives your teams something positive to focus on and helps them feel like they're part of the process.

Be open to what the resisters may have to offer. Most people prefer to work in a team where they have a say and the chance to be involved in decisions. Many will even tell you they like working in a team where they can develop their skills, talents, and interpersonal communication style. In addition, some people want to be challenged by new situations and are excited about growth opportunities. Try incorporating these ideas into your team plan, with the goal  to provide positive experiences for everyone – something resisters may be more receptive to than negative changes or situations.

If there's resistance from your team about change, explore how it can be handled differently. Think creatively. Take some time to discuss the options with people who are open to change. Then ask them how they feel about a new approach. You may find that not all changes need to be made at once and that a gradual process is more likely to be successful. 

If change is inevitable, try using it as an opportunity for growth and development. Instead of resisting change or fearing what might come next, use the opportunity to learn something new and improve on your team's existing skills or approach. In the long-term, this will help you to become even more effective and resilient in the face of change when your team is ready to move forward.

In summary, as a leader, it's essential to make sure that everyone is working together and committed to your team's future. And there are some things you can do to ensure this happens, whether it involves change or not. Remember that confrontation and anger usually won't help you get what you want. And because change is so unpredictable – and yet, paradoxically, a constant – the best thing you can do is work with your team members to create something worth holding on to.

August 11, 2022

Opportunities-Obstacles Quotient (QO2) Profile

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