Every January the World Economic Forum creates the hottest ticket on earth. For four days, by invitation only, from all parts of the globe, some two thousand heads of companies, heads of state, heads of universities, TV talking heads, and eggheads gather in the small Alpine village of Davos, Switzerland, to consider what is happening in the world.
A few years ago we were invited to attend the proceedings. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you like nonstop stimulation and a crash course in global dynamics with learning companions you usually only read about in newspapers or see on television. Underneath all the talk and the tinsel, though, there is really only one topic: change. “The world is changing, your business is changing, and if you have any sense, you’d better be changing, too.” Morning, noon, and night —in small groups and full assembly, over meals and on the shuttle buses— there is constant talk of change.
But with so many heads in attendance, it is perhaps no surprise that the conversations pay too little attention to the world below the neck—to the feelings, anxieties, and motivations that spur passionate commitments not to change. You can spend four days at Davos and not find a single session addressing why change is so difficult or what we can do about it.
In this book we have tried to distill twenty-five years of research and practice into a practical account of a single phenomenon we believe is at the heart of individual and collective change prevention—and what you can do to overcome it.