Metathesiophobia: a ‘fear of change’

It’s inevitable that at some point in the lifecycle of your business, you’ll have to embrace technological change. The time at which this change will be necessary depends on several factors including what industry you work in, the size of the organisation, and where you are located. But eventually, as Bob Dylan famously said, ‘a change is gonna come.’

There are very few organisations that will be able to escape the massive transformation that technologies such as e-commerce, machine learning, and cryptocurrency are bringing to the business world. Yet, there are still many business leaders who would rather bury their heads in the sand than prepare for this change. These are the people who suffer from metathesiophobia or a fear of change.

In the 20 years’ plus that Global Office has been developing software, we’ve spoken to thousands of business leaders from all number of industries. What we’ve learnt from these conversations is that there are many reasons why organisations are reluctant to proceed with digital technology that, as experts, we see as a ‘no-brainer.’ These reasons include:

• An unwillingness to commit capital to the project
• A fear of being the ‘first’ to do something
• Anxiety about having to learn new systems and processes
• Nostalgia about the ‘golden days’ of the business

Humans learn to embrace routine at a young age, starting with regimented school hours, before moving to a 9 – 5 work day. While routine is crucial for the day to day running of a successful business, a fixation on it can often result in an unwillingness or inability by business leaders to step outside their comfort zone. When the head of an organisation has metathesiophobia, it trickles down and can permeate the culture of the whole company. The only way these fears can be overcome is a change in the thought processes of the organisation’s leader.

So, what’s your attitude to change? Are you and your company ready to embrace technological change?