The growth strategy and the pain of change

Do you know what your customers want, but feel it is too far out of your business comfort zone to give it to them?

Doing something new often involves standing in the pain of change…. it involves being vulnerable, letting go of the comfort of the status quo, and experiencing the risk of doing it differently…these states come with pain.

When we go into pain, we can experience it as emotional pain or a sensation in our body, usually both. It is the fear of this pain that keeps us in our comfort zone.

The lessons from great innovators like Google, and Apple, is that the business that can take the pain, can make the change.  Michael Schrage from MIT’s Center for Digital Business talks about how successful innovators in business, have learned to use pain as form of body consciousness, telling them how far to go, and the difference between good pain, (growing pain) “I am pushing past my comfort zone” and bad pain, “this is damaging”.

Hearts and Minds work with business leaders has revealed when a business person first tries to do things differently, they encounter pain. This can present as a body sensation, the trigger of emotional grief from past bad experiences, or it can present as negative self talk or even self battery.

What is interesting, is when we first talk to businesses about why they are not doing what they say they need to do to get the results they want, we get the presenting reason,  better know as the excuse. When we delve, we find the real reason, which is fear of pain. The pain that each individual experiences can be shared, such as culturally specific pain, or a pain that is unique to the individual.

Until a business comes to understand the pain of change, and how this is sabotaging their growth, they are unlikely to make the change. Attune your team to read these feelings and the body consciousness of pain, and you are laying down the foundation for a high performance team.


Louise Kelly

Managing Director

Hearts and Minds


Founder Thought Leaders Circle



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