The First Question People Ask About Any Change

There’s one question above all others that people ask when a change comes into their life. It doesn’t matter if the change comes in their personal or professional life. The change can be mundane or momentous. Gas prices went up. Your company is acquired by another company. You get a new boss. Road construction blocks your favorite way to the office. Your wife is pregnant. Your daughter just introduced you to her new boyfriend. Your dad was just diagnosed with cancer.

It doesn’t matter whether the change is good or bad (whatever the definitions of “good” or “bad” are to you). It doesn’t matter if the change impacts someone else more than you. Whether people admit it or not, the first question that comes into their head when confronted with a change is:

How will this change affect me?

Does this mean we are instinctively selfish or self-centered? Maybe. More on that later.

People making a change that impacts others have the luxury of getting to answer this question, long before their change is sprung on anyone else. This fact is often forgotten by people driving changes in an organization. People need time to understand the answer to this question, before they can move beyond and start to answer all of the other questions that your change may bring.

About the selfishness question…Your dad was just diagnosed with cancer and your first question (to yourself) is, “How will this affect me?” Does this make you selfish? That all depends on your second question (the one you say out loud).

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