Organizational change stirs up strong emotions. Unfortunately, fear, uncertainty, and anger are three common ones. These negative emotions are exacerbated when change communications sound like a threat from the Borg (for non-Trekkies, the Borg are alien “bad guys.”)
WE ARE THE BORG.
YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
The problem with this Borg’s pronouncement is that it assumes change is something that is happening to people, requiring nothing more than passive resignation. In the business world, this would translate to, “We’re bringing on a new application. All work will be transferred to the new application in ten days.” Or, “We are reorganizing the structure of your department. This is your new title and these are your new responsibilities.” This is what is happening. Your input is not needed or wanted. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
To counteract the negative emotions that can be associated with change (and to support and encourage the positive emotions that some people will have), change communications need to emphasize engagement rather than assimilation. For example, “You are an important part of making this change successful.” “By doing the following, you will be helping our company achieve new levels of operational efficiency.” “Embracing your new role in the restructured department will lead to enhanced revenue opportunities.”
It all comes down to turning the Borg’s statement on its head:
WE ARE A TEAM.
YOUR ENGAGEMENT IS VITAL.
SUCCESS IS ASSURED.
Author: Paula Marolewski