When I’m at the top of a steep ski slope,
Or hiking and we come to an area where we have to scramble over rocks,
Or in the dentist’s chair getting my teeth cleaned,
And someone tells me to “just relax”, I immediately calm down and all my tension disappears.
We all have different things which trigger our tension, anxiety, and stress. But, if you’re like me, someone telling you to relax doesn’t do a whole lot. Indeed, that’s why my dentist gives me nitrous while cleaning my teeth.
In doing any kind of change work, it’s really, really important to keep this in mind. Change makes most people nervous. And “change management” is too often a euphemism for sugar coating bad news. So, when you’re trying to make a change, you can’t just tell folks that everything is going to be better.
I have no simple answer to this challenge. Part of the solution is accepting that indeed this is a major challenge. But as a start, don’t tell anyone to just relax.