What’s your default change response?

Do you move from 0 – Me in 60 seconds?

You’re not alone.

As part of our threat detection response during any perceived threat our amygdala kicks in and spirals us into a reactive state, rather than a constructive state.

Put simply, our brain thinks we’re about to be eaten by a dinosaur. It’s not interested at that initial moment about facts such as whether the dinosaur even exists, or if it does, whether it will actually eat you (perhaps it’s a herbivore).

There’s just a big neon sign going off in your brain screaming POTENTIAL THREAT TO ME – RUN!

Sure, this brain pattern worked really well in those days where real threats did exist, or if you’re a lion tamer. But in our modern workplaces it’s not that helpful.

Particularly if ‘change is a constant’ in your workplace.


How to change your default response from 0 – Me to 0 – See

Reflect on your default pattern when you hear the C word.

Do you respond or react?

React may look like defensiveness, negativity, criticism of the change. Not being open to seeing how the change may bring opportunities. Or not being able to see above your own individual impact and understand the business reasons and the ‘greater good’ to the workplace and its customers.

Respond looks like taking that moment to let the amygdala do it’s crazy thing, and then processing constructively. Moving into curiosity mode.

Asking initial questions such as:

  • What might the business reasons for this change be?
  • What will happen if I/we/the workplace does make this change? Versus what if it does not?
  • Where are there opportunities in this change?

Or doing some deeper reflection to pinpoint your concerns around change, such as:

  • Who can I discuss my concerns with to help me work through my initial reaction to be more constructive?
  • What might be triggering my reaction? Is it a past change that was poorly managed?
  • Are there too many changes simultaneously in play? Am I concerned about the impact on my work performance in trying to manage this change?


Change brings about a myriad of complex responses

Start identifying your default pattern in response to change and focus on responding not reacting. Taking that moment to find the facts not the fear.

You might enjoy this Blog for further reading on this topic.

If change saturation is a problem for you read this Blog for tips on how to manage.


Helping you and your teams embrace & grow through change

I cover these aspects and much more in my Embracing & Growing Through Change workshop. If you feel this might help your teams reach out to discuss booking this for your workplace.

Tan x

Tanya Heaney-Voogt

Director & Principal Consultant
MBA, ICFACC, MAHRI, Dip Mgt, Dip Coaching, Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner
E: tanya@tanyaheaneyvoogt.com

Recent Blogs

“My boss’s capacity for work is extraordinary. But she seems to think that’s normal and expects us all to function in the same way.” – Workload Management Tips

“My boss’s capacity for work is extraordinary.  But she seems to think that’s normal and expects us all to function in the same way.” It’s easy to fall into this trap as a leader, and I’ve certainly been guilty of this in my early leadership career, not realizing my...

“I’m struggling with my workload. What can I do?” – Workload Management Tips

I’m struggling with my workload. When I raised concerns with my manager they said “That’s just the job. We’re all busy.”  What can I do? There’s often a waterfall effect taking place in workplaces in regard to workload.  Chances are your manager is also struggling...

“I have a team member who keeps telling me they’re bored. What can I do?” – Workload Management Tips

“I have one team member who keeps telling me they’re bored.  They still have plenty on their plate and I don’t want to give them anything more as I’m worried I’ll overload them.  What can I do?” Our ideal state of work utilisation, generally speaking, is “active”....

Can you achieve high levels of ‘mastery’ in your role? Find out!

Can you achieve high levels of ‘mastery’ in your role? Find out! We've all heard phrases such as 'master your role' or 'I've mastered my job', but what does 'mastery' really mean and how is it linked to improved job satisfaction? Mastery is a component of good work...

Anticipatory Grief & Emotional Turmoil of Supporting Ageing Parents

Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. According to the World Health Organisation this day is for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.  In recognition of the spirit of this day and particularly in the remaining...

Can A.I. Help Leaders Support Team Mental Wellbeing?

Can A.I Help Leaders Support Team Mental Wellbeing? I can't quite believe I’m writing about A.I.  I feel like I’ve only just established a semi harmonious relationship with Siri. But it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge this “thing” that whilst I’m sure has...

How to Navigate Conflict in Your Workplace

How to Navigate Conflict in Your Workplace To determine how to navigate conflict in your workplace, I've recently been pondering on a famous book, The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu was a Chinese General who famously documented his military strategies and tactics...

Breaking Down The Silos

It's common to have various teams across a workplace focused internally and not looking at the inter dependencies with other teams. We quite rightly refer to that as 'working in silo's'. And it's problematic. However, one of the things we don't talk about so openly...

Has Your Workplace Got the SADs?

Winter is the time when many people experience Seasonable Affective Disorder (SAD). Whilst there's often jesting about this concept it is a real phenomenon, and it could be playing out in your workplace.  One of my clients has an intentional program at this time of...

The Risks of Fundamental Attribution Error in the Workplace

When we witness poor behaviours at work, we can make assumptions that it is the individual’s personality or disposition that caused the behaviour rather than take into consideration the situational factors. The situational factors include: The environment around us...