TOC in Personal Life

Embracing Change Vs. Resistance to Change
The causes for the conflict
By Efrat Goldratt Copyright © 1995

This paper has been taken from our TOC Articles and Papers archive.

What are employees reactions to change? Ask many managers and they will tell you that employees both want change and resist it. On one hand, employees dislike routine; They look for variety at work, and desire promotion and autonomy. On the other hand, employees resist changes and resent attempts to utilize new machines, software, or management programs.

Many managers say that the reaction to change, either initiated by management or by employees, is difficult to predict. Some employees will resist any change, some will always welcome it, and most employees will be somewhere in the middle. Moreover, many times a mixed reaction to change can be seen in the same person at the same time. For example, when you ask a worker about his feelings regarding his upcoming promotion, a frequent answer is "happy and scared". Or, in other words, he wants the change and resists it (or at least recoils from it) at the same time. How can this conflict be explained?

In this article I would like to suggest a plausible answer to that question. In order to understand the roots of this conflict one must examine what causes willingness to embrace change, what causes resistance to change, and how these contradicting reactions might appear simultaneously.

Identifying a cause of certain behaviors means identifying what need these behaviors are aimed at fulfilling (e.g. Maslow, 1954). What is the need that causes employees to want variety, dislike routine tasks, try to increase their area of responsibility and strive for achievements? The common need is to get satisfaction at work. If we examine the actions employees take in order to get satisfaction, we will see that all these actions involve certain change. That is why we can say that wanting change is a prerequisite to getting satisfaction at work.

If the need for satisfaction is related to wanting change, then what is the need that is related to resisting it? What causes employees to stick to familiar people and a known environment, and to recoil from special tasks or new responsibility? The common need for these behaviors is security. Security means functioning in a familiar environment with no surprises or uncertainty.

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by Motoi Tobita

(46 min)

The use of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) Thinking Processes helped a high school student improve his academic performance in 6 weeks. Students face common problems: I don’t know what I don’t know, lectures go too fast, memorizing is a pain, I want to spend time on something else, etc… This story and testimonial motivates any individual facing challenging situations to find a way out and start a personal process of ongoing improvement.

Open viewing through July 21st, click here »

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