Understanding Change - The Aversion To Loss
“…’Cause people often talk about being scared of change,
But for me I'm more afraid of things staying the same,
'Cause the game is never won by standing in any one place for too long”
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jesus of The Moon
Whether it is in business, clubs, sports, the arts or any walk of life, there is a constant need to pay attention to the thousands of changes that are happening around us at any one time – and then adapt. It was Charles Darwin who said “In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
It is the professional sporting arena that the capacity to change and improvise is revealed for all to see. A top team aiming to replicate last year’s performance by following the same formula for success is bound to fail. The circumstances and parameters will have changed and the competition will already have observed what created success and already be building a bigger and better strategy. In business the same rules apply, although actions may be less in the public eye, there is still an audience of focused onlookers accompanied by a live scoreboard.
The biggest challenge is to change our human inclination to protect the status quo, even if it doesn’t make much sense. It is well researched that people are not so much resistant to change, but to the perceived loss from change. Loss aversion, whether from status, power or privileges is a stronger human motivator than the opportunity to gain – even if the opportunities clearly outweigh the losses. In other words people are motivated more strongly by ‘pain’ than ‘gain’.
With this in mind, leaders must not only identify the need for change and promote the benefits of change, but also invest considerable time developing strategies to engage people on the journey of change and address the human condition of loss aversion that will exist in their minds. Awareness of this human condition will help the leader to succeed in making the essential changes that will move the organisation towards success.
More information and guidance can be found with Synergy Global to develop teams that are committed and creative.
If you are interested in expanding you, your team and your organisation’s effectiveness, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org +61(0) 439-066-067. Synergy Global: Delivering Effectiveness Consulting, Change Facilitation and Executive Coaching services to the Private. Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors since 1996.