“when you join a new company, they have a way of doing things that is undoubtedly different from the way you have been used to. But what do you do? You do your damnedest to adapt to this ‘alien’ new way of doing things. Whatever thoughts you may have had during the first few days about the oddness of the place are very soon displaced in your desire to become a useful part of your new environment. In the process, you have made all sorts of changes to yourself without pain: you have a cup of coffee at 10, not as soon as you get in to work; you attend meetings that run into lunch, where before you had a strict lunch break; you complete your meeting notes the day of the meeting, instead of the day before the next one. And that’s just the small stuff. Now you are working for a new boss, with new colleagues and new people to get to know. This could all happen if you were already an employee and just got ‘reorganised’. In this case would your actions and reactions be the same? Probably not!
So what is the difference that makes change easy in one situation but not in another? Surely it is in the mind of the individual. In one situation they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. In the other they might come out worse off. In the first case, they made the decision for themselves and had worked out in advance what it was worth to them. In the second case, the decision was made for them and the reasons for the change did not specifically have their personal interest in mind. The instigators of the change were looking for benefits to the organisation not to individuals. The first is self-centred, the latter is organisation-centred. Being a cog in the machine is fine when we’re a ‘big wheel’ but not so fine when you are a smaller one that may have to whir faster. The fear is not unfounded, either. So often many people involved in corporate change do find themselves not fitting any more.
The fear of loss is greater than the fear of gain. When there is nothing to lose, change is not a problem.”