Have you ever tried to implement a change when one person that wasn’t ready for the change? He/she probably told each team member to, “change at your own pace” which challenged your team members. As a result, that person probably slowed everything and everyone down. He/she probably was a roadblock to the change for the group or you individually. What they may not have realized was that their mentality became a major stumbling block for everyone.
So why is change at your own pace a fallacy?
To know why this is a fallacy you don’t need to look any further than the three drivers of change (technology, people, and information). Technology is constantly advancing. Computers, machinery, vehicles, phones, and everything else technology is constantly improving. With each technological advance, you can improve efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness. Or, you can stay where you are. If you choose to stay where you are, you will be effectively moving backwards because everyone else will be moving past you.
The change at your own pace doesn’t work with people either. When you change at your own pace with people, you will either move too fast or too slow. You will slow down others around you or you will encounter resistance when you are changing faster than others. You can’t change at your own pace when you are changing with others. This hurts the team and everyone involved in the process.
Finally, the change at your own pace mentality doesn’t work for information either. Information is constantly being discovered. If you don’t work hard to regularly discover the new information, you will fall behind. You will also slow down others around you because you will not be up to the speed they need.
Ultimately, there are three problems that occur when people decide to follow the “change at your own pace” model.
They slow down the whole process.
The people that try to change at their own pace slow down whatever process they are involved in. I have seen this happen with large projects, and I have seen it happen with very simple things as well. The person with this mentality is similar to the slow driver on the road. Because they are going slow, everyone has to wait behind them, go around them with the risk of danger, or just get mad and frustrated. None of those options produce good results.
They create more stress for themselves and other stakeholders.
The person that decides to “change your own pace” will have much more stress as a result. When they begin to fall behind, they may coast along at first feeling worry free. However, once they realize they are way behind, they will get frustrated because they don’t know what to do to get back on pace with everyone. This will cause heightened stress for the team members and other stakeholders.
They create a negative feeling amongst everyone.
Once the person with the “change at your own pace” mentality realizes things aren’t going their way, they will get frustrated. They will begin talking bad about people, the process, or some other aspect. That will put doubt in the minds of other team members and slow down the overall production. That will breed more negativity amongst the group and can lead to major problems.
So what can you do about it?
In life you are either moving forward or falling behind. It is impossible to stand still and progress. When change comes, don’t decide to “change at your own pace” because it will likely stop you from going where you want to go. Change like taxes and death happens no matter what you do. Make the decision to do all you can to change at the required pace.
When you are the one leading change, recognize that the group some may have the desire to follow the “change at your own pace” model. Work with them so they understand the importance of changing at the pace of everyone else and the project. As you help them, you will see great improvement in the effectiveness of the group and the implementation of change.
Have you seen people try to change at their own pace? What was the result? What do you do to avoid the “change at your own pace” mentality? How do you help others to avoid changing at their own pace? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!