How People Weasel Out of Change and Justify Staying the Same
Aspiration or frustration drives you to seek advice. But you end up rejecting advice in favor of staying the same.
How to weasel out of change:
You’re frustrated when others do it. Maybe you’re a weasel, too.
#1. Weasel out of change by using the “exception justification”.
Exception-thinking appears when the response to advice is, “Yes, but,” or “What about?”
If you want to stay the same, use an exception like a comforting baby blanket. Now you can keep doing the same ineffective things and feel good about it.
It’s interesting that people who seek advice use small exceptions to justify rejecting advice.
You seldom change while looking for excuses to stay the same.
#2. Weasel out of change by using the “small flaw justification”.
If you want to stay the same, discount the WHOLE truth by finding a small flaw in the advice someone gives.
Find small reasons not to change so you can justify staying the same.
Imperfect people use imperfection as an excuse to continue following an ineffective path.
#3. Weasel out of change by using the “it might fail justification”.
It’s interesting that people who are failing use the excuse, “I might fail,” to continue failing.
Failure-thinking is seen when people say, “But it might not work,” or “What if I fail?”
You might not always get what you reach for, but if you reach for nothing, you always get it.
- Stop using small things as reasons to reject the whole.
- Seek advice from someone you respect. Don’t judge it. Follow their advice for a week. (See: An Exercise Guaranteed to Ignite Growth in Anyone.)
- Invest in yourself. Hire a coach.
- Adopt an imperfect plan so you can make imperfect progress.
- Find reasons something might work.
What excuses do people use to avoid growth and change?
How might leaders overcome the challenge of weaseling out of change?
Coaching: How to Confront Employee Excuses (CMOE)
Stop with the Excuses! You can be an Exceptional Leader (Bud to Boss)
I like the transition from ‘it’ might fail to ‘I’ might fail, which is truly why people are often afraid of change. Not that the it is going to struggle but how they or I will be perceived if it does. A failed change, ushered in by a leader could equal a failed leader in some people’s estimations. However, I have never met a perfect leader yet and don’t expect to…so some failures are bound to happen. They happen less often if we humble ourselves enough to listen, ask questions and strive to learn.
Thanks Bill. Change is more difficult when our personal identity is tied up in it.
It seems that humility helps us navigate change. 🙂
Change is inevitable. I have a favorite quote: “Ride the wave of change, or find yourself pulled under.”
Thanks for the quote, Chris. Glad you stopped by.
If something isn’t difficult enough to challenge you.. it won’t have the strength to change you either. I would rather fail at something difficult than to not try at all. Worst case scenario? Build some calluses and crush it next time.
This I like: Find reasons something might work. But I have to ask am I different in that whatever I undertake (and I’ve been doing this for a long long time) I always look for ways to change the effort (if its appropriate) so that the outcome is better, more efficient and maybe more effective. I’ve been observing those around me and who I deal with across the country and I do not see many engaged in actually embracing change as a way to succeed and become more efficient (that’ the best word I can find for it) along life’s journey? The way I see it is everything in life is about change how you many it, how you engage it, how you embrace it, how you live it.
I don’t know where I got the quote from, but my favorite quote on this topic is “Never discount the gravitational pull of the status quo.”
It can indeed be tempting to weasel out of change. Changing means entering the unknown on a journey out of one’s comfort zone. Change can be exciting; a catalyst for growth and innovation. However, change for the sake of change is not a good leadership tool either.
“We have always done it this way.” I had to go through it, so you have to.” These are mantras I hear on many occasions in my life. As a young medical intern, working 100 hour weeks was just a rite of passage. It has always been thus, and therefore it will always be so. It was only after I woke up in my bed after a 36-hour shift with no recollection of how I made the 25 mile trip home (and I was stone cold sober), that I started to wonder about the habit. In recent times, legislation has been introduced to limit the number of hours young physicians may work. The old guard was mightily indignant at this, but I was thrilled. After all, if I cannot remember how I dove home, would you want me operating on you?
On the other hand, some leaders seek change at any cost. Whether it is to shape and change a project or department in their own image, or whether it is to keep up with the Joneses and always having the next best thing, they seek change wherever they can. Not all of the old stuff is bad. Sometimes hanging on to the old ways can be very beneficial. To stay with the medical intern example: in “my time,” a medical student had to do an intern year, rotating through most major specialties. They would then have to work as a general physician for at least two years, under supervision, before they could even consider a residency. These days, medical students have to choose a specialty in their third year of school, and then it becomes an anxiety-provoking race to be assured that they would be granted this dream. Residency starts immediately after medical school. Some young students do not get matched to a residency, and are left to hang. Others have breakdowns when they cannot be matched to the residency of their choice. None of them get the chance to become well-rounded, versatile doctors. In this instance, shouldn’t we keep what worked so well in the past?