When we encourage people to adopt change, we must anticipate and prepare to overcome four major objections with each person:
- No Good: belief the change doesn’t have value
- No Time: there’s no time to incorporate the change
- No Training: doesn’t know how to perform the change
- No Comfort: fear of the change or of being humiliated in trying to adopt the change
Many times these objections arise in this sequence, so it’s appropriate for us to prepare accordingly. Nevertheless, “No Comfort” will generally account for 40-60% of one’s objection to change, and it’s likely that the other three are merely screens. Therefore, we always need to keep this objection in mind even as we work through the others.
With “No Good” we present the merits of the change or its cost-benefit analysis. “No Time” is really saying “No Priority,” thus we need to help the person readjust their priorities in order to work in the change. “No Training” requires us to provide the training and tools to adopt the change.
All three apply to the “head” or a person’s cognitive functions (i.e. reason, logic, thought). This is what makes “No Comfort” challenging: it applies to the “heart” or intuitive functions (i.e. emotions, feelings, anxieties). People will do anything to avoid humiliation; thus, strengthening relationships is vital in helping people overcome their fears. We will need much patience to accomplish this.
Since we are biased towards action, waiting for the right moment will challenge us. However, techniques such as management by walking around and teachable moments will help accelerate the process. Still, the point is this: no matter how rational our arguments, we need to appreciate the intensity behind the fear of humiliation. Otherwise, we will likely create stronger resistance.