In this short video, Six Disciplines CEO Gary Harpst explains why our brains resist change – the most fundamental element of change management, and one of the keys to both personal and organizational change.
The following transcription of the video is provided for your convenience.
“Our brains are part of the challenge. Our brains don’t like change and there are physiological reasons for this. Our brains are only 2% of our body mass, but it consumes 20% of the energy. And what this means is our brains are designed in a way to conserve energy, and one of the ways it does that is it seeks to identify patterns of behavior in our life and turn them into habits so they can be processed in a lower region of the brain with a lot less resource, time, and thought. And so what this means is, we are habit-forming creatures and especially when we’re busy. We do the best we can to do things in a routine way that we’re familiar with because it’s a self-defense mechanism, helps us be more productive.
Well, what does change do? All this external change and internal change? It disrupts that process. It constantly asks us to do things in a way that’s different than the way we used to and that creates stress, and it creates resistance, and it creates communication problems. And so the ability to cope with change is an enormous challenge in organizations. A very, very real challenge. So I want to close with this quote, “An agile company is organized in a way that allows it to thrive on change and uncertainty.” This is a forth driver of performance. If organizations cannot figure out how to cope to change, they never can perform well.”