HR & Personal Development

Change does not ask for permission, they just arrive®

By Helen Eriksen

How do your coworkers react to change? The change-psychology can offer some practical views on how we can become far better at accommodating and relating to change at work and in our private lives.

As a leader it's important to be able to read and understand yourself, your coworkers and your organization in the stream of changes that constantly challenge us. How do you navigate in this landscape of change and increasing complexity? One of the ways is learning how to read the basic assumptions in the organization.

Acknowledge your thoughts of habit to create change

It is important that we clarify the basic assumptions that lies within the organization both in the minds of the individual and the organization as a whole. Since 95-99 % of our basic assumptions are unconscious. When coworkers by the coffee machine or in the cafeteria talk about mistakes and the problems that occur in the company, the critique does not imply a cruel intention, since their notions are often unconscious.

The unconscious assumptions are automatic and for most people it can be difficult to take a step back and view things differently. In a change process it is essential that all coworkers are prepared for the fact that change will happen. And that effective change it's only possible if employees and management are conscious of the basic assumptions that controls the behavior. If not the change process will rarely succeed, because the necessary majority of positive attitude isn't present. That is why the executive must support himself and his employees in articulating his and their basic assumptions to be able to complete a constructive and developing change process.

The leader as role model


Our brain is an organ that can be exploited much more than just the potential we use today. There are many unused neural networks just waiting to be activated. In the left brain we primarily find our ability to analyze, structuralize and organize, and this part is often used in our work. In the right side of the brain we find the possibility of innovative thinking, create new ways and think in entities. This is why it is a good idea to consciously work on combining the two parts of the brain and activate every brain center where the different intelligences are placed.

The spacious, bodily and musical intelligences must be brought into play along with the intelligences that most of us are accustomed with, the logical mathematical and the verbal linguistic. When we are able to let them cooperate positive changes occur. The brain only needs to experience a repetition of new behavior before it creates a new nerve path that further stimulates our existing neural networks for increased innovation and solution orientation.

The leader must spearhead this change process and show himself as a role model, because it's difficult to step outside “the tribe” and begin working on things differently. We have a tendency to stick to what we know and prefer to not stand out in fear of being excluded. That's why it's the leader's task to show the employees that new ways of working are possible. When the executive acts as a role model for the new way of working, employees are far better at adapting to the change. It is no longer “dangerous”, and you will not become marginalized from stepping out of the comfort zone.

Well-being and job satisfaction

A change that is simple to grasp, and which is incredibly efficient, is an increased focus on the well-being of the coworkers. What we all strive for at work is well-being, job satisfaction and for things to be meaningful. When these three things are fulfilled, the energy grows. When the level of energy is high, we create growth. That's why it makes sense focusing on the well-being of your employees and from this create growth. For many years growth has been related to maximizing profits and increasing market shares, and this is still part of the way to success. If it is supplemented with putting well-being into focus on every level, the job satisfaction and the meaningfulness of work will naturally grow and therefore also generate economic growth.

Self-organization among coworkers can create well-being, since it is a great motivational factor. Researchers have been able to tell us that we are generally not motivated in hierarchies. We do not function at our best in this kind of structure, because hierarchies often and fundamentally provides cause for stress. When the ability to perform without feeling controlled is present, the engagement grows. A change of style that makes self-organization legal makes the energy sparkle, and the company will experience growth on account of the well-being of the coworkers.