“I think all art is about control – the encounter between control and the uncontrollable.”
– Richard Avedon, (1923 – 2004), giant in the world of photography, fashion and journalism
Loss of control is an inevitable part of going through change and can affect us inside and outside of work. Being told what to do and when to do it can leave us feeling disrespected and powerless. If we believe our opinions have been ignored and that change is being imposed on us, then emotions can run high. Why?
Humans tend to prefer predictability. Change disrupts that predictability, causing uncertainty and potentially an erosion of trust. A sense that one lacks control and is not supported by his/her environment during times of change can dramatically increase stress.
We can try to maintain control (in the short term) by opposing change, but this strategy does serve you well in the long term. By opposing change, we may be excluded from involvement in the change, which reduces our control over the situation even further.
If you are leading a change impacting others:
If you are part of a team being impacted by a change:
Often, the primary loss experienced during change is the loss of control. Losing control is stressful, so people have a strong desire to maintain control over what’s important to them.
Inspirations and references: Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard; Anthony Greenfield’s The 5 Forces of Change: Achieve Successful Change, Naturally; Prosci’s Change Management Learning Center; University of California – Davis’ Managing Through Change – Manager’s Manual.