Have you finished researching your wish list? Do you know what you really want to see and what you would like? And have you broken this down into what is conceivably achievable and what, in all honesty, just isn’t going to happen?

Christmas presents? No, we’re talking here about pulling together the strategy which is going to drive your business forward through 2019. At the time of writing we are knocking on the door of December and, with the usual Christmas slowdown or pressure point depending on the nature of your business nearly upon us, there isn’t a lot of time left before we are singing Auld Lang Syne and facing up to the New Year.

No matter how well advanced your plans, we have to ask if you have factored in the single most important ingredient for success, your people? Far too often the most noble of ambitions are destroyed by the three horsemen of failed ambitions; resistance, rumour and inertia. And far too often that failure is triggered by the simple act of forgetting to take your people on the change journey that you have already mapped out.

Just think; when you are researching, scoping out and scripting change you are already exploring the change landscape. You understand your business and you have developed an appreciation of what changes are required in order to deliver the vision and strategy. In the meantime your people are in ‘business as usual’ mode; doing what they believe is required in order to meet current expectations.

Ask yourself how you would react if change was suddenly thrust upon you? Would you resist, would you be full of questions, would you even perhaps fear for your job?  If you are being honest then the answer is probably ‘yes’ because all of these reactions are perfectly normal. The fight or flight reaction to a threat may have been bred into us as a result of our hunt or be hunted ancestry but it is also triggered by any perceived threat and that includes change to work patterns or expectations.

Understanding that very human reaction to change can help business leaders to avoid the worst excesses of fight or flight reactions and instead turn their people into enthusiastic and engaged advocates for change. And the recipe for success is simple:


Talk, tell, show and engage people in the reason for change. Take them on the journey that you have already been on and help them to understand why change is necessary. Demonstrate how important your people are in delivering the change process by providing access to training and to support. And above all give people time to assimilate, to question and to buy in to change.

Our fight or flight response is triggered when we perceive a threat. By taking the threat out of the change process we can trigger a more positive response in which people not only engage in change but actively look to drive it forward. How are you approaching 2019? Will it be a fight or a flight towards success?


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