Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2nd in a Series on Change Management: Howard Jacobson’s Career Capital & Averted Loss

As a part of this series on insights from the literature on ChangeManagement, I want to share an insight related to change resistance as a form of prudent "career capital" investment, retained control and averted loss. These ideas came from a presentation, "Driving Change: A Marketing Model", I saw at the Fall 2013 Digital Health Coalition Summit by Howard Jacobson, PhD of Vitruvian. 

In this deck, he does a great job of recasting my view of change resistance from mere fear to additional views like: 1) career capital investment, 2) retained control and 3) averted loss.

The key resonant idea he talks about in his presentation is career capital, a resource we have all worked to accumulate over time and which we are loath to invest unless we are sure of a positive return. When viewed this way, stakeholder slowing down and resisting change makes sense, as it allows time for “loss aversion”, a great term the author uses, and helps the perception of retained control. One might even say that change is irresponsible if it does not come with sufficient proof of positive outcomes in these areas.

I know that as change leaders, I often am not seeing it this way. I realize I might make more progress, and better business cases, if I empathized with how my stakeholders perceive change in these ways. This insight cautions me to be more patient, persistent, thorough (and curiously courageous, as the author calls for) in how I plan and conduct my interactions with those I'm asking change of.

On reflection, it also causes me to be mindful of the ways in which I resist, and sometimes even work against change, in those cases where I believe, usually unconsciously, that change is a loss of control and a negative investment of my own career capital. 

1 comment:

Chris Haberman said...

Thank you once again Craig.
I think you might enjoy reading some of Steven I. Simon's works on Culture Change. He is friend of mine and has been in the business of culture change for decades. Here's a link to one of his papers on measuring change in a corpoprate culture. http://culturechange.com/safetycultureassessment.pdf

Chris