Last week we talked about unmet emotional needs and the impact they play on our behavior. We had talked about the five key emotional needs consisting of: Safety, Power, Acceptance, Respect and Value. When we feel one of these needs is not being met, our brain sends out warning signals and our behavior can change.
Let’s take a look at how change can affect how we are feeling about ourselves, especially when dealing with the fear of the unknown.
I had a discussion with a surgeon who was complaining about a piece of equipment he had bought. It had cost him $80,000 but his staff wasn’t spending the appropriate amount of time learning how to use the equipment and getting it into the patient flow process.
Think about why people struggle with change. In the current mode people are recognized for their performance. Their rewards are based on this performance. They know the process, can multitask, balance out the workload, understand the patient flow and all the various intricacies of the process. Now you ask them to introduce a new piece of equipment that will interrupt the process as the staff goes through the learning curve. The staff is not familiar or confident in running the machine and even less confident in answering questions by patients.
They begin to question their value. Will they be as effective and be able to provide the same performance as they have in the past? They second-guess quite a bit about having to use the equipment. The piece of equipment begins to take on a negative nature.
As the surgeon watches the piece of equipment gather dust he realizes that if it doesn’t get into the process quickly, he is going to have a very expensive boat anchor on his hands.
The amygdala portion of the brain picks up warning signals about this piece of equipment and the staff ‘s struggle with getting trained on the equipment and getting it into use. Many times one of the key warning signals is the fear of the unknown. How will this equipment affect our process? How will it affect our workload? Will we be able to process more patients faster or fewer patients? Will someone lose a job because this equipment is utilized?
The best way to soothe the amygdala is at the beginning of the change process. Communication is key at this point and the time spent explaining why the equipment is coming into the practice is time well spent. Don’t assume the explanation has to be done only once. Get someone trained on the equipment fast enough so they can help train others and take away the fear of the unknown. So many times sales reps show staff what the equipment can do but don’t allow for hands-on-training. The hands-on-training takes the fear of the unknown away.
Anytime you can remove a fear, you’re moving in the right direction.
Thanks for coming along.