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October 2019
« Aug    

Kenexa and IBM Company

Managing Change: Resilience is Fertile (with apologies to The Borg)

Posted by: Vernon Bryce, Director, Capp


“We are the Borg.

Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be assimilated. Resistance is futile1

(Ascribed to The Borg, an alien race featured in Star Trek the Next Generation)*


One of my favourite lectures in my undergrad psych degree featured ‘double approach avoidance theory’ (DAAT) thanks to the genius of Kurt Lewin, in which he theorises that many decisions in life (like marriage, moving house, career planning perhaps) confront us with conflicts, In DAAT, both goals have advantages and disadvantages causing great conflict.


In lay terms, DAAT of course means everyone can win yet everyone can lose, very convenient I used to think , both positive and negative, similtaneous yin and yang, balance and counterbalance in each choice at the same time, everyone has their cake and eats it; or not, it seems. Brilliantly painful and yet pleasurable at the same time I thought, and so is managing change I since learned.


How so? Managing Change is probably up there in the one-time Top 10 of business imperatives, along with decision making in global versus local markets, make or buy manufacture, invest not invest, organic or acquisitional growth.  Even so, within the Top 10, change is vastly under-rated both in its complexity and dynamics. Change is both threat and opportunity, managing change is a conflict between sticking with the advantages of the known status quo and the potential advantages and disadvantages in the alternative. Hence, ‘double approach-avoidance theory’.


This has major implications for hiring promoting and positioning people in organisations. Do we choose people who embrace change or resist it? Do we decide for singularity or plurality? Those who will resist change when opportunity presents or risks the jump? The evidence is clear.


In managing change, opportunity and threat is ever-present, thus embracing yet resisting change is fertile, hence ‘resilience is fertile’. In recruiting for change we need the wise insight to recognise the options, their advantages and disadvantages, the courage to hold the double approach avoidance dilemma in our thoughts, yet lead our people to the vision which inspires and sustains.


To find out how Capp can help your organisation manage change, please contact me directly:, connect with me on LinkedIn or call +44 (0) 2476 323 363.


*Author’s note: The Borg are a fictitious alien race, unlike Star Trek which all of us know is not!

1Source: Wikipedia

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