Scene 1: Our air conditioning repair man Luigi was just telling me how he caught his wife painting their bathroom red, just after he had just painted it white (over the red it used to be). He smiled, while clearly still irritated: “I love her dearly but she drives me crazy. She is a free spirit and I am anal retentive.”
Attraction to people who, on some core dimensions, are very different from us is commonplace. So it seems quite paradoxical, that many of us combat the very differences in our partner, that we once found attractive.
Scene 2: Allied Engineering, a large bureaucratic firm, acquires upstart Stevens Tech to streamline its IT processes and systems, in order to more quickly respond to its customers in real time. Stevens however never gets the chance; upon integration, Allied forces Stevens to adopt Allied’s procedures and systems, thus preventing Stevens from accelerating Allied’s customer response time.
Completely illogical, yes? Completely common – absolutely! Research shows that the majority of integrations fail, not because of finances or legal ramifications, but as a result of this inherent resistance to change. Clearly, this ambivalence to change needs to be identified and addressed prior to the integration.
How do you understand this paradox? Do you see it in other organizations? in your own life?