Things Feel Different in the Passenger Seat

When you're the driver, you've got control of the wheel and know not only where we're going, but each decision you're making along the way.

In the passenger seat things feel different. I don't have the same sense of control and comfort with our speed, direction, degree of the turns, etc.  I can't prepare for your sudden veer left or rapid acceleration because I don't know they are coming.  As a result, I might feel nauseous.

What's true in the car is also true for a change initiative.

Let's say you're driving change (and are driven to get results quickly).  You know the route, have your hand on the gear shift, and are making all the decisions about accelerating and braking, so you feel like things are moving along according to plan.  But it doesn't look or feel quite that same way to others who are along for the ride. Note: If you're only taking people for a ride, don't be surprised if the change process doesn't work.

Just because people might be hesitant about a change doesn't mean they are ultimately resistant to it.  Be careful you don't confuse the two.  We may already be queasy enough as it is.

Note: This post was originally published on April 9, 2010.


Sue Pelletier said...

Finally, an analogy that makes sense of people's resistance to change. I now understand it in a whole new way. Thank you.

David M. Patt, CAE said...

Good analogy!

And if you have always been the driver, you need to work even harder to understand the feelings of people who have never been the driver.