Why People Fight Change And How Behavioral Science Is The Key To Successful Transformation &Raquo; Image Asset


Change can be difficult, and whether it’s a personal endeavor or a move in a corporation, one thing is consistent: people fight change. This resistance can manifest in a variety of ways. In this piece, we’ll go into the core of this resistance and discuss how a grasp of behavioral science might unlock the doors to successful transformation.

The Unchangeable Characteristics of Change at Its Core

The fundamental aspect of change is the modification of one’s behaviors. Behavior modification is the most important aspect of change, regardless of whether it’s being attempted by a company that’s trying to pivot its strategy, an individual who’s trying to break a habit or an organization that’s installing new processes.

Why Logic and Reason Are Not Enough to Convince

When it comes to effecting change, leaders frequently make the mistake of relying entirely on logical reasoning. They provide convincing evidence in the form of data and statistics, as well as reasons for the change that have been given considerable thought. However, change does not always occur for strictly reasonable reasons. It often has its origins in well-ingrained cultural norms as well as profoundly felt emotional responses.

Consider the situation as one in which you are attempting to persuade somebody to read a new type of book that falls into a category with which they are not very familiar rather than their favorite classic literature. If the person has a strong emotional relationship to the classics, then rational arguments alone won’t do the trick; you can enumerate all of the valid reasons why the new genre is fascinating, but it won’t change their mind.

In addition to Rationality, We Must Consider the Emotional and Habitual Aspects of Change

The process of change is complicated by the interaction of feelings, routines, and cognitive biases. People have a natural tendency to look for comfort and security, which makes them reluctant to open themselves up to change. The field of behavioral science assists us in comprehending the reasons why.

The Fear of the Unknown: Adapting to change frequently requires taking steps into the unknown. The field of behavioral science has demonstrated that our brains are hardwired to favor familiar environments. People have a “fight or flight” reaction to everything novel, which causes them to be resistant to change.

Habit Loops: Our brains are wired in such a way that habits are difficult to break. The field of behavioral science places an emphasis on the loop of cue, routine, and reward that is involved in the formation of habits. Escaping from this cycle presents a difficult obstacle, but doing so is essential to overcoming resistance to change.

Cognitive Biases The field of behavioral science has uncovered a variety of cognitive biases that have an impact on our ability to make decisions. For example, confirmation bias leads people to look for information that backs up the opinions they already hold, which makes it difficult for them to open their minds to new concepts.

How the Field of Behavioral Science Fills in the Gaps

Just having an understanding of these complexities is not enough to win the fight. The other half consists of putting this information to use in order to bring about change. The field of behavioral science provides a toolbox that can be used to traverse the complexities of human behavior.

Nudging: Leaders can gently nudge individuals or teams toward desired behaviors by making minor, strategic modifications to the environment. These changes can be made to the surroundings. This is consistent with the principles of behavioral research, which demonstrate that people are highly impacted by the environment in which they live.

The field of behavioral science places a strong emphasis on the significance of providing consistent feedback loops. Individuals can be assisted in breaking old behaviors and adopting new ones with the use of positive reinforcement.

Storytelling: People have an emotional response to hearing tales. Instead of depending exclusively on data, leaders could consider using narratives to make the change more accessible, engaging on an emotional level with their followers.

In conclusion, individuals are resistant to change since it involves more than just making a sensible decision. It runs very deep in our psyche, as well as our feelings and our routines. As a beacon of direction, leaders and other agents of change absolutely need to look to the field of behavioral science. They are able to effectively lead the way toward successful transformation if they have a deep awareness of the complexities of human behavior.


Emotions are a major contributor to people’s unwillingness to adapt to new circumstances. Emotional difficulties can arise from factors such as fear, anxiety, and a connection to the way things are currently.

Why is it vital to convey stories while trying to drive change?

The telling of stories has the power to humanize and emotionally engage change. It facilitates people’s connection to the purpose of change as well as the rewards of change.

How may transformation be facilitated through the usage of feedback loops by leaders?

Regular feedback can be provided by leaders, highlighting both areas of progress and those still needing work. New behaviors can be reinforced by positive feedback, which can help break old habits.

What exactly is the confirmation bias, and how is it connected to the resistance to change that people exhibit?

The tendency to seek out information that supports one’s own opinions is known as confirmation bias. When it comes to transition, it has the potential to make people reluctant to new ideas that challenge the beliefs they already hold.

In the field of behavioral research, what exactly is meant by the term “nudge”?

A ‘nudge’ is a modest, unobtrusive modification in the environment or context that has the effect of influencing the decisions and actions of individuals. The field of behavioral science makes use of this idea to urge people to respond in the way that is intended.

Originally Published on https://www.breakfastleadership.com/

Michael Levitt Chief Burnout Officer

Michael D. Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout consulting firm. He is a Keynote speaker on The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Burnout. He is the host of the Breakfast Leadership show, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of his latest book BURNOUT PROOF.