Automatic Defense Mechanisms to Change

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Change Management Iceberg > Best Practices > Automatic Defense Mechanisms to Change

Automatic Defense Mechanisms to Change
Chanitha De Silva, Marketing, Sri Lanka, Member
What I think is that human beings are reluctant for change by nature. When there is a change taking place around themselves, they will either cope with that or else the automatic defense mechanism will trigger their moods to react in one of the following ways:
1. Aggressive reactions
2. Regressive reactions
3. Identification
4. Withdrawal
5. Repression
6. Autism
7. Rationalization
8. Projection
Therefore I believe that change management is merely connected with motivation of human beings to make them overcome such defense mechanisms, that would make them cope with the change.

Help Others Overcome Defence Mechanisms
Anthony Houston
I like Chanitha's view; I agree that the crux of change management is to help others overcome their defence mechanisms. However unless all of senior management is driving the initiative you will have avenues of escape for those determined to avoid your assistance. You must identify the agendas of all participants because these will be self-servient; and contrary to your aims of implementing a better system. Unless you can stand up to these aggressive reactions with the full backing of senior management and you are able to say "It's my way or the highway" (to quote Hollywood) then break out your knitting and find a nice quiet corner somewhere.

Change Management
John G. Hendry Jr., Student (University), United States, Member
I personnally agree with Anthony Houston. I like "my way or the highway"...

Automatic Defense Mechanisms and Reactions
Peter A.M. Broosus, Management Consultant, Germany, Member
I agree with Chanitha's summary of reactions. However, I disagree with the statement that human beings are reluctant to change by nature. I believe the opposite is true. When we look into our history we see that we are changing and adapting continuously. What we experience in the "management of change" as "reluctance" is based on defects in the preparation and organization of the change. Good results can only be achieved by creating the correct conditions. Our focus on results "whatever it takes" makes us forget to actually address the conditions needed to make people enthusiastic for the required alterations. That is the main cause for negative reactions. Simply based on deep emotions like "being afraid for the continuity of their own life", etc. Emotions we feel ourselves when change would possibly affect us. Emotions we easily put aside as long as it "does not affect us".

Support Your Employees
Rebecca Roe, United States, Premium Member
We were introduced to change the day we were born from our mother's womb--rude awakening and we cried. No one likes to have to expend the energy to stop drop and roll in another direction when the direction we were rolling in seemed to have a purpose. It's more than dislike, its fear, anxiety, anger, confusion, and takes energy that we have to muster to engage and understand change. A baby, after realizing the shock of entering the harsh new world, is bathed, fed, and nurtured. If managers could use this concept to help others move into the change, maybe it would be better. Get people ready for the change by feeding them information, nurture them with support when they experience the pain of change, and be there along the way. You know when babies, or humans don't get nurtured or supported they fail to thrive.

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