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When Change Causes Pain, Conflict and Excitement

We have all been there.  When your employer, your industry or your competitors make a change, it can unsettle, disrupt and even cause major friction.  Whether it’s a change in the law, a change in operations or even a move to raise the bar in an industry, change is never comfortable.

Why is this painful?

When one creates change the intent is likely to improve people’s conversations, processes or policies.  Take Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation for example, at the base level, the intent of the legislation is to stop spammers from disseminating unwanted messages, which have nothing to do with your business.

However, when you dig deeper into the legislation, it will actually dramatically change the way small business, and associations market their products, services, events, and membership.

We all knew this law was coming for a while, and when the dust settles, we will all be wiser – and have smarter marketing practices.  BUT the pain is happening now – questions are being raised such as “What do I have to have in place to comply?”, “How much will this cost me to have systems available for tracking?”, and “How much of my communication is actually affected?”

Why does it cause conflict?

Change can cause conflict when groups of people do not believe that you can (or, should) implement this change.  They believe that for the greater good of the company, or the industry, that you should not be the one to make the change.  These are the people who say “When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

But this thought process is all wrong.  Jeff Hurt recently addressed this in his blog.  He maintains that, when things are going smoothly, it is exactly the right time to look at ways to improve it.  Change BEFORE your process gets boring.  Those who dare, win.  Not everyone will agree, but those who are forward-thinkers, and innovators in your industry, will recognize the attempt to make change for what it is:  someone filling a gap or a need that has been swept under the carpet for too long.

Why is it exciting?

Of course change is exciting!  But why?  Because you are trying to get people to believe in your cause, your process, or your new product/service.  Because you saw a need, heard the feedback, and created something that will help.  And it is a wonderful feeling when you see who will be the first on the bus with you.

Change is going to happen anyway – so it may as well be you who creates it, and reaps the benefits.

What is your organization doing to create change for your members, or for your industry?