Just keep swimming: how to swim with the current of change

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If you’re a fan of Pixar films and fish, you may be familiar with the imperative advice ‘Just Keep Swimming’. The film we’re referring to is, of course, Finding Nemo (whose sequel, Finding Dory, has smashed the box office to be named the highest-grossing animated movie ever in the US), and the fish we’re referring to is, of course, everyone’s favourite Regal Tang, Dory.

Loveable amnesiac Dory has a habit of dishing out this motivational advice whenever her friends capitulate in the face of a challenge, but we could also learn from it when tackling organisational change.

When your organisation is faced with a transformation, it’s easy to view that change with suspicion, scepticism, and even downright rejection. In fact, it’s what we’re naturally hardwired to do. Research has shown that the part of our brains that reacts to change also controls our fight or flight response, and so we automatically erect barriers of fear whenever we’re confronted with change. There are many reasons why we might be averse to it – our innate fear of the unknown, our preference of normality and routine, concerns about job security and value – and it’s these reasons that may prevent us from implementing successful organisational change.

Organisations change with the sole, core purpose of improving, and with improvement comes positive benefits. However, because of the Loss Aversion effect, we’re instinctually drawn to holding on to things we already have than acquiring things we don’t. Routine soothes us, and disruption scares us. But when new benefits are ignored and rebuffed, we’re wasting valuable opportunities that might make our working lives just that little bit better.

So how do we go about tackling organisational change? We Just Keep Swimming, of course!

When those barriers to change are erected by employees, it’s up to managers to find the best ways of knocking them down. Managers must communicate with and inspire their employees into accepting and swimming with the current of change instead of against it. It’s only by continually working with the change and propelling it along its course that it’ll ever be successfully completed.

By maintaining a constant flow of information throughout the change, painting the big picture and contextualising it, and being clear on what’s going to occur and what’s expected, you can ease the fear and anxiety that causes resistance. For a change to be implemented and integrated, it needs the backing of the entire organisation – and only by engaging employees in the transformation can you truly obtain their support for it. Include them in the process, communicate often, and reinforce the benefits – and your employees will Just Keep Swimming!

PRINT® is a revolutionary behavioural tool which can help you swim with the current of organisational change by understanding why people might resist it. It uncovers people’s Unconscious Motivators® and the actions and events that trigger them into unproductivity, allowing you to accurately assess how individual employees might respond to and resist change and providing you with the knowledge and understanding to overcome these obstacles.

For more information on how PRINT® could benefit yourself or your organisation, email hello@discoveryourprint.co.uk, visit our website and social media (Facebook: @discoveryourprint, Twitter: @Discover_Print, LinkedIn: Print Profile Ltd) or sign up to our mailing list. If you’d like to bring PRINT’s benefits to organisations and businesses, we offer Accreditation courses enabling in-house coaches and learning & development professionals to become certified PRINT® coaches.