Organisations are constantly changing. Varying from new employees, changes in management, introductions of new products and services or social changes that need to be addressed. How disruptive is such a change for you and your team?


Change is action and reaction

Change expert Annemarie Mars, in a contribution from ScienceGuide, explains that change does not always have to be very big. “Change is action and reaction. I say something and then you say something, and in that conversation something happens, it crackles. That is how behavioural change occurs. Everything you see around you is the result of an idea from someone, and this idea created followers.”

A high percentage of changes fail. In organisations, as much as 70% of changes fail. One of the reasons for this is that changing behaviour is an enormously complex process. And if you want to change behaviour, you have to look beyond behaviour. Behaviour is the road to Rome, but not Rome itself. That is how we should look at it Annemarie Mars says.


It is about making a connection, being able to embrace the change. First of all, it is necessary that your team understands why the change is needed. Basic condition for a manager is to communicate the change in a way that the other person understands. Next, your team must be able to actually carry out the change, be able to physically and mentally complete the action. Otherwise, people will not be able to incorporate it into their behaviour. And thirdly, the feeling must also be hooked in, and that is important. If someone gets it, but doesn’t feel it, there is no connection.

The existence or absence of connection is easy to see when something goes wrong after the change. “The person with connection asks if they themselves could have done something differently, they feel responsible. The person without connection says: ‘You see, it was a bad plan’.

Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.
– Roy T. Bennet


To connect the connection of your team members to the change, you must first connect yourself. Suppose it is difficult to accept the desired change, then focus on the question why you find it difficult. By examining this question in yourself, you will get to know your own negative emotions and you will be able to accept them. Accepting in this context means that the emotions are allowed to be there. Share this proces with your team. This vulnerability will allow you to examine where the possible resistance of team members lies, and what they think they are losing.

Our brain is ‘built’ to resist change. So look further into where the reflexive resistance of your team comes from. Good communication is a prerequisite for understanding change, but does not yet mean that people are committed to that change. Pay attention to the emotional context, try to understand what your colleagues cherish and hope to protect. Ask questions about the emotional context of the change theme and give space for those emotions to be there. Ask what it means to someone, what they feel, what thoughts come to mind and listen. Listen carefully.

Last but not least, acknowledge your colleagues’ hesitation about the change. By being transparent about the costs and benefits of both the emotional and economic side, you can actually build loyalty and trust during the conversations.


Want to know more about emotions and how the emotional context influences our thinking and physical well-being? Check the ImpactMethod©, one of the learning methods from our leadership programme The Leader in You!