Why do I have to change when things are good?

There are people around you who are perfectly comfortable the way things are. But, you know things need to change – because of opportunities or threats that most people haven’t seen yet. So how do you help people who are comfortable move to a new, better place?

The late Dr. Michael Hammer was a gifted teacher and I once heard him discuss “Everything I Needed to Know About Transition I Learned in the Bible.” His premise: How do you make people see a need for change when things are good?

Show them how things can go bad.

The Hebrew people were in slavery to the Egyptians. They had to make mud bricks all day and build these huge pyramids in the baking sun. No fun. The relative safety and abundant food made them satisfied and when Moses arrived on the scene announcing it was time to move to a great new place (the ‘Promised Land’) he didn’t get much buy in.


Hey Moses, are you sure there’s a better place than this?

Sound like any change you’ve been involved in?

So, how were the Hebrews convinced to leave this difficult yet comfortable place? Moses combined a burning platform (“Pharaoh is chasing us!”) and a motivating vision (“A land flowing with milk and honey!”)

After escaping Pharaoh, Moses led the people into the Sinai Desert.   They had gone from Egypt (bad) to the Desert (very bad). No constant water supply, harvesting a miraculous food supply, moving regularly. They surely longed for the “good old days.” That is, until they crossed the Jordan River and arrived in the “Promised Land.” And it was good.

So, do you need to move people to a “promised land” that they don’t want to visit? Take a lesson from Moses. Help them understand how now is bad, take them (if only in their imaginations) to a place that’s worse, and then lead them to the promise that is held by the future.

Read a summary of the Israelites Exodus from Egypt here
Image of Pyramids and Spinx © 2006-2016 Kenneth E. Fields

Posted on July 11, 2016, in Change Management, Change Managers, Communication. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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