Are you Affected or Infected by Change?

You have probably heard of the riddle, “What is the difference between a pig and a chicken at breakfast?” The answer is, “The chicken is engaged, but the pig is committed.”


I would like to advance the proposition that the same is true when it comes to change initiatives. There is one category of people for whom a new change is the “flavor of the month” — an empty promise that will never amount to anything. The appropriate response, therefore, is to smile, nod one’s head in an up and down direction — and continue to do exactly what they are doing now. “This too shall pass.” These people are (marginally) affected by change.

There is another group of people who react to change in a very different way. They “buy in”, engage, choose to invest in making the change be successful – or not. They are infected with change.

Here is the thing about being infected. It can be contagious. Others may “catch” whatever position the infected person takes with regard to the proposed change. The investment in the change is obvious to others by the passionate tones of voice and the non-verbal and facial gestures of the infected person. These things “rub off” in much more powerful ways than words alone.

Think about the changes you are trying to help bring about – or scuttle – in your work and/or personal life. Are you affected or infected with change?