The Litmus Test Of The Manager’s Ability
Change vs. adaptation.
Found on Twitter, this quote from the American novelist Lisa Lutz: “Our ability to adapt is amazing. Our ability to change isn’t quite as spectacular. ”
This quote describes a manager’s everyday reality: Human beings adapt to almost any situation but they are much less comfortable to lead real change.
I think the difference between apprehension – in both senses – of adaptation and change has a twofold explanation:
- When we adapt, we start our thinking from the existing reality. When we change, we start our thinking from the targeted objective. The latter is more stressful than the former because it induces a stronger emotional split with the situation to which we are accustomed. This is why the best change management focuses on the transition and gives time to employees to grieve for what they are giving up in order to build their future.
- Adaptation has been at the heart of human nature since our earliest ancestors – this is how our species survived and grew – while change is so extraneous to our condition. Hence we generally decide to adapt and we are pushed to change.
That’s the reason why change management is the litmus test of the manager’s ability. It testes their ability to challenge themselves in order to be able to lead their employees through change.
The verb “change” is indeed more interesting when it is transitive.