Change, part 2

Seth Godin explains why change is so easily sandbagged by small groups of nay-sayers.

The last time I blogged about change, it triggered an avalanche of change and challenges that kept me busy for weeks, even months, after.

So I wouldn’t be blogging about change again without very good reason. That good reason is a recent blog post by Seth Godin, provocatively if inelegantly titled “Change and its constituents (there are two, and both are a problem).”

It’s a brilliant insight that explains why change is so easily sandbagged by small groups of complainers. Apply this to elections (know of any coming up?), family discussions, or your favorite board or committee:

People who fear they will be hurt by a change speak up immediately, loudly and without regard for the odds or reality.

People who will benefit from a change don’t believe it (until it happens), so they sit quietly.

The result, of course, is what appears to be overwhelming opposition against change. This often leads people to withdraw their proposals for change — even though, if they pushed through, they’d win the (belated) thanks of the people who’d benefit from it.

My original post about change proposes a corollary to Seth’s insight: That because the dissenters’ protests are often without basis in fact, the dissenters’ commitment to their fears can be fickle. They often turn out to be the people who are happiest with the change when it is implemented — to the point that they’ll often deny they ever opposed the change.

My conclusions: Get tough. Take the long view. Recruit those who will benefit to speak up on behalf of change.