Elsie - Have you ever wondered why it is that people are so good at adapting to change? It's one of the things that's really given us our edge as a species and yet we hate to change so much. My name is Elsie Mort and I'm a change management consultant with Valorem Reply, that means I spend a lot of time thinking about change, and with that comes thinking about resistance to change and how to manage it. In this video, I'm going over three factors studied by behavioral science that help explain why we're so resistant to change, and with that understanding, we can better manage change in the future.
Status Quo Bias - So, factor number one is called status quo bias. You may have also heard it referred to as the default effect. If you take it back to high school science, you can think of this essentially as a psychological version of inertia where an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. One of the reasons this makes change hard for us though is because we face all future moves and changes off of our existing frameworks. If you have experience in UX you'll be very intimately familiar with how the layout and defaults on a page can influence how people navigate through it.
Sunk Cost Fallacy - Factor two is sunk cost fallacy, and this essentially refers to our reluctance to abandon ship on things that we've already invested in because we see it as more of a loss even if when you run the numbers it is less costly to simply take a different route. We've run into this before where there's already been an initial investment in a process or a project that really needs to pivot and yet because there's already been that investment of labor or resources or money people are a little bit more reluctant to let go of something that they've already started.
Loss Aversion - Sunk cost fallacy can also be partially explained by the last factor that I wanted to talk about today, which is loss aversion. We feel the pains of loss more acutely than we feel the joy of gains we make. A good way to kind of illustrate this is, if you imagine if I gave you ten dollars that's going to be a really fun addition to your day, you're going to be happy about that. However, it's not going to be as joyous as it would be devastating if I went up to you and stole ten dollars from you because that was your ten dollars, you already had it factored into your possessions and it was something that was taken from you. That's a lot more jarring than something being given. Some experiments have shown that people tend to overvalue the cost of things that they already own or have possession of as opposed to more neutral reading on objects that they don't yet own. Basically, we want to protect our resources, it's a protective measure and it makes a lot of sense. When you apply this to changes you can empathize with people who want to guard their existing structures, resources, and sources of security and using that empathy is really important because again change is inevitable and so is resistance.
If you have any questions about change management or the behavioral science behind it, please feel free to reach out.
Valorem Reply specializes in not just finding the right technology for your unique needs and environment, but also integrating the people and process change needed to ensure success and maximum return on digital investments. If you are considering new solutions or processes for your frontline staff and want to learn more about what a change management journey might look like for you, email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation with one of our change management experts.