Sunday, December 20, 2009

Embrace Change

Many people are afraid of change when what already exists is comfortable. Current conditions may not be ideal, but people are willing to forgo what could be when the existing is just ok.

I got an email from a property manager in my department a couple of weeks ago. We had just renovated a large dining room at one of the high end independent living communities in my company, and he said that the residents were unhappy with the new chairs and were not being quiet about it. They complained that the chairs were larger than the old ones and that they were backing into each other and damaging the walls.

The chairs that we replaced were very old. Rigid straight backs and ripping vinyl seats, not exactly great. The new chairs were the standard chairs we had been using for the past 3 years in a large chunk of our 500+ communities accross the country. Most communities were beyond ecstatic to get new chairs, so why was this community being so difficult?

They refused to embrace change. Instead of being excited to have brand new, ergonomically correct, smooth gliding chairs, they chose to be upset that these new chairs were different from what they were used to. They chose to let their disastisfaction not only ruin their mealtimes, but also fill their time with complaining amongst themselves and to the company. There were no suggested solutions, just resistance. Simply resisting something new brought huge amounts of negativity into their lives.

Luckily with some creativity the dining room was resituated so that there was no more banging into one another. Many residents were finally happy with the change. We did recieve one more complaint letter after, but you can't please everyone.

When faced with change, always look at what it can result in. Often the good will outweigh the bad, if you choose to look at it that way.

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