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πŸ§‘β€πŸš€The Importance of Perspective when Preparing for Change

change leadership resilience resistance Feb 20, 2023
Change Leader Insights

Change is an inevitable part of life. Yet, it remains one of the most difficult things for people to adjust to. Even though I’ve made a career out of helping people and organizations successfully change, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not immune to feeling self-concerned when something happens that I wasn’t fully prepared for.

Resistance to change is human nature. We are conditioned to identify threats and respond in ways that perpetuate our survival. However, the “fight or flight” response that is meant to keep us free from harm can also hinder us if we fail to recognize when it’s no longer needed or appropriate.

When a change is on the horizon, it can be helpful to take a step back and view the situation through a wider lens. In doing so, we give ourselves an opportunity to see the big picture and experience the necessary shift in perspective that allows us to overcome the temporary loss of control and fear of the unknown.

A new perspective is a powerful tool for change and transformation. There is a phenomenon called the Overview Effect that describes a heightened sense of awareness and awe that astronauts feel when viewing the Earth from a great distance. In fact, many experience a positive psychological shift that permanently affects their minds, values, and emotions. They report feeling more appreciation for life, the environment, and humanity, and forever see the world as a unified, interconnected whole.

The Overview Effect can be used as a metaphor for our own experience with change. When we are faced with changes in our lives, it can be difficult to see the big picture or understand how our individual choices and behaviors can positively affect future outcomes. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty, but if we take a step back, we give ourselves a chance to develop a new point of view and see the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.

The Overview Effect offers a unique way to approach the challenges of organizational change as well. Leaders who are responsible for communicating the broader vision and goals for the change, for example, can also provide an “overview” that gives people insight into the interconnectedness of the company’s various parts and how it all fits together. This big picture view can help the people who are impacted by the change to better understand the rationale behind it and appreciate why the change is necessary.

While we can’t send our peers and colleagues to space (yet!), we can still incorporate the spirit of Overview Effect into how we prepare for and navigate personal and professional change. From helping people feel connected to something bigger than themselves to reinforcing the vital role we all play in realizing a better future state, we can encourage a new perspective that creates the conditions for positive, lasting change.

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