Overcoming resistance to change

I have recently discovered some fascinating writings on neuroscience and leadership, specifically the article written by David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz about bonds between the brain (organ) and the mind (the human consciousness that thinks, feels, acts, and perceives).

They describe that any organizational transformation that considers both the physiological nature of the brain and the factors predisposing people to resist change is more likely to succeed because change is painful to people.

Just like driving a manual transmission car for the first time, changing a well-established organizational habit can be challenging and requires a lot of effort. The sustained attention it requires is demanding, which many find uncomfortable; they will do whatever they can to avoid the change and discomfort that comes with it.

Companies also have this tendency to maintain the status quo because it takes a good dose of willingness and attention to change a behavior. It was proven by Dr. Michael O’Donnell, PhD, who created the AMSO model, that only 5% of the success factors of a change in behavior were attributed to consciousness; 30% was the motivation to change, 25% was the development of skills, and the largest part, 40%, went to practicing and opting for new opportunities.

Companies are counting on awareness as the primary step to change, but without the motivation or experience to do otherwise, change is not sustainable.

According to the authors, cultivating moments of awareness allows the individual to make a complex series of connections between several parts of their brain so they can modify their own attitude and move on to the other steps necessary to change their behaviour. These connections can increase our mental resources and overcome the brain’s resistance to change.

To be useful, awareness must come from within rather than being presented as an external conclusion. The moment one becomes aware feels like a positive and energizing experience, and this energy wave is very useful to help the transition.

Beginning to turn the page on problem behaviours and focusing on creating new behaviours will form new circuits in the brain.

Therefore, it is essential to encourage awareness to engage oneself in the new desired behaviour and look for solutions rather than giving advice.

The basis of my coaching methodology supports the individual in finding their own solutions through open-ended questions that promote awareness, and offering them the integration and opportunity to permanently change their behaviour.

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