‘People don’t fear change, they fear loss.’ Great. Then what?

Kevin Anderson on Strange Attractor shared a quote of the day — “people don’t fear change, they fear loss” — that compelled me unpack the ideas it contained.

Anderson was writing about the tumultuous revolutions underway in the journalism industry. But it applies to any moment of transition you may be facing. Here are some other mentions of this slice of wisdom, enhanced with reflections:

  1. Craig Mielcarski said it back in August 2009 to describe transitions in work worlds. He added a bit of wisdom of his own: “Significant transitions always involve leaving something behind.”
  2. David McLaughlin used the phrase on Twitter in March 2012, and added this: “If the change is a perceived gain they are more easily on board.”
  3. Jason devoted an entire tag to the phrase. He provides some steps to work through the fear; here is one: “Identify ahead of time what the real loss is, and be ready to love people through it.”
  4. From an education standpoint, C. Ed Massey references the quote and gives some advice on implementing pro-active and chosen (vs. reactive and choiceless) change: “To change before disaster demands it requires leadership. Many times people confuse leadership with authority, power, or influence, but true leadership involves direction, protection, and order. Direction is the ability to have a clear and detailed vision of where the organization is going. Protection is remaining focused on your core mission. Order is dedicated work to achieve the common goal.”
  5. And hey, who hasn’t wondered how folk wisdom applies to people managing water supplies and negotiating with local governments and citizens (aka “Ensuring Small Water Supply System Sustainability”)? This writing throws in the quote, attributing it to the someone named Bennett and adding in this tidbit: “During any change process, something new begins only after something else ends.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.