Why Do So Many People Hate Change? Understanding and Navigating Change

Blocks that spell out "change" with a finger pushing the G block out and replacing it with a C block to spell "chance."
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Many people don’t like change, and it’s understandable why. Change can take you out of your comfort zone, challenge you to adapt to new ways, and make many things that you may have worked hard to learn and even master become obsolete. Change can happen suddenly or slowly over time. How you respond to change is crucial to your ability to adapt. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you during these critical moments. You could say or do things you may regret later. Remember the old sayings, “Look before you leap” and “Think before you speak”? No matter how upset you may be today about the changes, you will still need a job tomorrow! In this change management blog post, topic expert Peter Garber will walk you through how to navigate and embrace change and how to avoid burning bridges within change.

Don’t miss this intriguing
webinar from HRDQ-U

Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

More Turbulent Change

How Do I Handle the “Naysayers” during Change Management?

In times the early times of change and change management,  it’s crucial to resist engaging in negative narratives circulating within the organization. These narratives, perpetuated by naysayers, undermine the change process and seek allies to support their pessimistic views. Aligning with such a group during transformative periods is counterproductive and detrimental to progress. While expressing concerns and emotions is necessary, it should be done respectfully and professionally without causing harm.

naysayers in change management. Two professionals arguing about change

Steps in Handling “Naysayers”

This approach proves particularly valuable in the early stages of change management and implementation.

  1. Engage in constructive dialogue
  2. Seek clarity on the reasons behind the change or changes, and share that with this group
  3. Understand the expectations set for everyone involved


This is not to suggest that you should hide all your feelings and emotions, but you need to do it in an appropriate, professional, non-destructive manner. You should express your concerns respectfully and try to find out how legitimate these concerns are, especially if you are asking the decision-makers in the organization. Listen carefully to the reasons why these changes were made and what is expected of everyone to support these new initiatives. This can be particularly important early in the process as you try to embrace change. Remember that, ultimately, you will be judged on how well you supported the change, not how upset you were about the changes that were made. Thus, it is important to channel your efforts and energy in the right direction. Instead of being seen by others in the organization as an important contributor to helping make the changes being introduced successful, you may instead be viewed as an anchor, something that must be dragged along and slow down progress.

Change Management Bridges: Navigating Your Career’s Path

In our journeys, we often encounter bridges that enable us to overcome obstacles, ensuring smooth progress and preventing delays. Just as physical bridges allow us to traverse water bodies or challenging terrain, there are metaphorical bridges in our careers that present opportunities for growth and advancement. While these bridges may not be tangible structures like highways, they play a crucial role in shaping our future professional paths.

A bridge with cars driving across it

Consider organizational change as another bridge that you come to in your job or career. Knowing which questions to ask yourself in this scenario can aid in effective change management. How can this bridge lead to the future roads that you may travel in your career? How can you fortify these change bridges to enable you to be able to cross safely? Or conversely, how might you inadvertently destroy these bridges, thus preventing your progress and development going forward? Obviously, looking at it this way, you would think that burning down these bridges to the future is not something anyone would consciously want to do. But then, why is it so frequently done?

Ways to Avoid Burning Your Bridges during Organizational Change:

  • Don’t become self-destructive
  • Don’t cry over spilled milk
  • Be careful who you complain to and what you say
  • Don’t begin your own silent protest
  • Don’t say things that you will regret later
  • Maintain your self-esteem
  • Maintain your working relationships


Maybe it is that change often disguises itself as a barrier rather than a bridge. By resisting change, we might think we are removing this barrier in our way when we are actually eliminating an important connection. Many see the next organizational change as a barrier to accomplishing their career goals. They may destroy these bridges and consequently block their own career progress. Someone else may cross this bridge, leaving them on the other side of change, looking over and wondering why they were left behind. When changes are made, organizations will assess the damage that it may have caused in terms of how people are responding or reacting. You don’t really want to get on their casualty list of victims who aren’t going to survive, much less thrive during the changes that are about to follow.

Career Tolls: Paying the Price for Progress

Just like physical bridges often require toll payments, career bridges also come at a cost. While paying a few cents or dollars is the norm for physical bridges, crossing professional bridges entails different sacrifices. These costs are primarily emotional, encompassing the fears, frustrations, and anxieties that accompany career journeys. Confronting these emotions during times of change is essential for effectively dealing with future transformations. Understanding and embracing change management allows us to navigate the complexities of change more confidently. By recognizing and embracing change as an opportunity for growth, proactively supporting its implementation, and valuing the bridges it presents, we can cultivate a positive mindset and propel our careers forward.

Peter Garber Bio Pic
Peter R. Garber

Peter Garber is a retired human resource professional with over 35 years of experience working for a Fortune 200 corporation. During his career, he held a variety of HR roles, including assignments at manufacturing facilities across the country, and later spent twenty years at the company’s corporate headquarters. He is the author of over 50 books and learning activities on HR and business-related topics. He has been frequently invited to present seminars and webinars, including international conferences and colleges, based on his works. Mr. Garber was also an adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Business School.

Mr. Garber has written two books on change – Turbulent Change and a follow-up book, More Turbulent Change, published by the Association for Talent Development (ATD). This presentation on change is one of his most popular programs.

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