Cameron Watters: software engineer & erstwhile engineering manager / director

Suggesting Change

Some things to consider if, like me, you're the kind of person who is prone to suggesting change.

The Challenge with so-called "improvements"

When characterizing a suggested action, particularly a change as an "improvement", said suggestion is often perceived to carry an implicitly negative value judgement. For some, if an improved version exists, that necessarily implies the current version is wrong, bad, or foolish.

Failure or refusal to accept proffered benefit

A corollary of sorts arises when the situation is inverted. Someone acts in a manner which they intend for the benefit of you or some group you belong to and their action—by direct or collateral effect—actually produces a negative result for you (or the group).

Hearing that the real impact of their effort was dissonant with their intention often generates unpleasant feelings in sincere, well-intended actors—irrespective of how or by whom such information is communicated.

Tripping over core or other protective beliefs

When a suggested change implicitly challenges a person's core belief or axiom or when a suggested change appears that it might undermine some structure which a person is relying upon for their sense of safety, stability, or predictability, the suggestion itself is often experienced as hostile, aggressive, or even cruel—irrespective of how or by whom it is suggested.