Change: The Only Constant

Recently one of my textbook assignment readings was on the idea of change in the workplace, and how to manage people who were resistant to change. My textbook described a model of change using an analogy of a traffic light: 30% of people are ultra-resistant to change (red), about 50% of people are open to change but hesitant (yellow), and 20% of people are enthusiastic about change (green) (Porter-Reynolds, 2014, p. 13). (Thought I’d throw in a citation since I’m so used to doing it these days!)

I know myself well enough to know that no one would believe I fall in the “green light” category. I’d like to say I’m at least in the 50% “yellow light” category, but honestly I think I tend to fall into the “red light” category often. In a positive light (please enjoy the unintentional pun), “red” people are critical thinkers, looking for all potential pitfalls in new ideas before jumping on board. In a negative light, “red” people are stuck in their ways, never wanting to try anything new and always have discouraging things to say about new ideas.

While “green light” people probably seem to be the most preferable out of the three, the truth is we really need people of all three types. One type of person is not necessarily better than another, each person brings their own personality and experiences to the mix.

It does mean, however, that if I know I tend to be a “red light” person, that I am careful to not always discourage the “green lights” when they have new ideas. It means I must be sure to affirm others’ ideas even when I am critical of them.

(Side note: I think my husband might be a green light…)

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