Managing Change

Change can be scary and feel intensely personal—it’s unsettling going from the stable and familiar to the unknown. People can both welcome and resist change. Examples of normal change in personal life include new relationships, marriage, the birth of a baby, and the death of a parent. More difficult change can be divorce, financial setbacks, illness, or injury. Common situations at work include facing budget reductions or layoffs and changes in job responsibilities, organizational structure, or staffing.

People resist change when they:

  • Are caught off guard or feel blindsided by it
  • Believe the change will make things worse
  • Do not understand the change
  • Fear the change will translate into a loss of security, money, status, friendship, or freedom
  • Have no input in the decision

People are more likely to support change when they:

  • Believe the change will improve a situation
  • Expect personal or social gain in security, money, or status
  • Have significant input in the decision
  • Respect the person or people who are behind the change

If you or your department are thinking about—or are already engaged in—making a significant change, it may be helpful to consult with a professional about how to navigate the transition most effectively. You might also want to locate community resources such as legal or financial resources to help you.

If you are a manager, you may want to strategize about how to structure the change process successfully, develop your vision, and anticipate problems in leading your group forward. If you want to talk to someone about your change, or any other issues, please call us at 617-353-5381.