The Psychology of Change

Let’s think about Change for a second. What is it to you? A business challenge, a job, that chance to change and improve things? Well, all of this is certainly correct, but first of all, Change is a complex psychological process.

Arnold Beisser, author of “Paradoxical Theory of Change” explains: “The paradox of change is that change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.” Change does not take place through a coercive attempt by the individual or by another person to change him, but it does take place if one takes the time and effort to be what he is. Of course this statement opens a big variety of problems for any change manager.

Instead of Beissers theory we could also deal with Perls’ assumptions, which have not changed so far, but society has. For the first time in history, man finds himself in a position where, rather than needing to adapt himself to an existing order, he must be able to adapt himself to a series of changing orders. Moreover, the rapidity with which this change occurs is accelerating.

With change accelerating at an exponential pace, it is crucial that an orderly method of change is found. Disparate, unintegrated, warring elements present a major threat to society, just as they do to the individual and organizations. The compartmentalization of anyone, each separated from the others by generational, geographical, or social gaps, is an additional threat. In terms of psychology, any change initiative that leaves some employees behind is doomed to failure. Only by integrating these factions and bringing everyone along, will the change “stick.”

For me psychological factors are essential within any Change as soon as individuals are involved. Of course you can “manage” an IT or automation process that is fully computerized without dealing with psychological factors, but never try to “manage” humans without keeping psychology in mind.

As this issue is of such importance for me, I will continue writing about the “psychology of Change” from time to time. I will also open up a separate category where you can find all related posts…


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