In a recent post, Frank Granara and Lorraine Grubbs, co-authors of Beyond the Executive Comfort Zone: Outrageous Tactics to Ignite Individual Performance, offered insight on how to shake things up and push both yourself and your team out of your comfort zone.
Today, I am going to expand on that. Take a minute and mentally put yourself in a place that you love. You love the sights, the sounds, the activity you are engaging in. If there are others around, they are people you are excited to be with. You are truly comfortable and feel totally content.
Now, imagine that I want to take you from that place and put you in a brand-new environment, one that you’re not familiar with. It’s a place I honestly believe will be better for you, but still, it’s not what you are used to. It may even be a little scary. Even if you know I think it’s great, how likely are you to be willing to leave the place you love to go with me to some new, uncharted place?
I’m guessing, not likely at all.
You love the place and situation you are in. Chances are, regardless of my persuasive skills, you probably aren’t that interested in going anywhere. After all, what you have now is pretty great, so why should you change anything?
Welcome to the power (and challenge) of the comfort zone. Each time you propose a change to your employees, remember this scenario and expect at least some resistance. Then follow this advice.
Provide a really good reason to change
You’ll face problems when you want to initiate any change, even the seemingly trivial ones. So when you are trying to change the behavior, habit or thought patterns of others, you will encounter some level of change resistance. Many people, by nature, simply don’t want to stray from what’s familiar to them. At some level, stability and comfort matter to everyone. People like the known because it feels less risky. Therefore, you must provide strong reasons to convince people to step out of their comfort zone. “Just because” or “because it is good for the business” typically won’t be strong enough.
Remember everyone is different
Risk tolerances change. Happiness with the status quo differs. Every person has different preferences, which means that while the comfort zone matters to people, they don’t all become dissatisfied at the same rate or for the same reasons. Therefore, they aren’t likely to break inertia and move (i.e., change) for the same reasons or at the same time.
Offer the right vision to break down resistance
Many (but definitely not all) people are willing to change and may even choose change if the new situation is better, even if they are currently in a very comfortable, stable situation. For example, a person loves her car until the newer model comes out. Or another is happy with his favorite Italian restaurant until he hears people rave about the new one in town. People everyday stray from something they love because something newer, faster or more updated comes along.
You have to tell people specifically how the change is better than what they have now. Explain exactly how they will benefit now and in the long-run, and you will more likely gain their buy-in.
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