Change Feels Best at Arm’s Length

There’s an old saying, “The only people who like change are wet babies.” But change is good, right? Well, it can be, but human nature is to resist change. We like what we know. We like what is familiar and predictable. Change threatens our sense of safety because we must step out of our comfort zone. But, to share another adage, change is a constant, and the last two years have dished out generous helpings of change.

Leaders today must be change agents. This is particularly difficult in an already stressed, possibly burned-out workforce. Many leaders admit that they lack the tools to be effective change agents. Like most leadership skills, being a change agent involves a learned set of tools.

Approaching Change

Think about what it’s like to introduce a change to your team members. Do you approach the task with trepidation or full-on dread? If so, it’s important to look at why you dread the task. It could be fear of pushback or linked to an internal conflict with the change.

When leaders believe in the change and can communicate the why behind the change, they stand a much better chance of building buy-in. A recent Gallup article by Denise Mclain outlined the link between engagement and the leader’s support of change.

Mclain goes on to say, “Many leaders find they get more traction using a change management method that curates communication into short, tactical ‘chunks.’” By giving information in bite-size pieces, you are less likely to overwhelm them which is vital in situations where staff are already overwhelmed. Chunking also helps with operationalizing change by taking it one step at a time.

Making Change Happen

Most of the work we do with organizations requires some degree of change. We were working with an organization on culture change a few months ago when I made this observation: the leaders were animated and eager to get going with a concrete plan until they realized the changes would hit their way of doing things.

Talking about change is one thing, but human nature is to try to keep it at arm’s length. Think about how you adapt to change? Are you the wet baby eager for a change, or do you dig in your heels? How do you communicate change? Is it a data dump, or do you use the chunking method?

Baird Group specializes in helping healthcare organizations build loyalty within communities and among staff. Contact us today to learn about our consulting services at (866) 686-7672 or

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