The change curve, Arsenal and loyalty in the work place


The Change Curve model describes the four stages that most people go through as they adjust to change.

I’m an Arsenal fan. I’m used to existing somewhere between anger and acceptance on a regular basis, usually in August, a few days (one in this case) before a new season. Ultimately though, for most of the year I exist in the ‘commitment’ stage and have done for many years.

Anyway, all this talk about footballing mercenaries, Olympic heroes and the differences between them has got me thinking.

Robin van Persie is this morning wearing a Manchester United shirt, training with his new team mates, smiling, laughing as if nothing has happened. A couple of days ago, there were similar pictures of him in an Arsenal shirt doing the same thing. If I look through last year’s programmes, his Captain’s notes were full of words like ‘pride’, ‘loyalty’, ‘togetherness’. What changed? What Went wrong? Where is he on the change curve?

Clearly in this case there are ridiculous amounts of money involved, agents, foreign players who are expected to show loyalty to what is essentially a local club, nowhere near their native locality.

But what of us in business? What keeps us loyal? What makes some want to join competitors, larger organisations, smaller companies, while others stay and look at those companies with a watchful eye? Money is one thing, trust another, but really, what makes us stay beyond the standard football contract of 3 or 4 years?

For me, feeling supported and part of a team, whilst having the trust to be autonomous makes me feel that I’ve got the right fit. If what I want to do is supported and I’m allowed to do it and be successful at it, why move?

Footballers just want to play football surely? If they’re supported in doing that, and they are, then does it just come down to success?

I don’t know. I’m suspicious. All I know is that things change and people change, but if you’re committed to what you’re doing now and it makes you happy, that’s enough…isn’t it? Or am I just being naive? Would be good to hear some thoughts.

Anyway – that’s my lunch break done. Onwards!


2 thoughts on “The change curve, Arsenal and loyalty in the work place

  1. I think it is enough, until the moment that it’s not – and that could be the moment a shiny new contract lands in your lap, or when someone disagrees with you once too often, or the team dynamic changes for whatever reason, or you get the chance to do something or be somewhere different. A change is as good as a rest they say. As to footballers only being interested in football, I don’t think that’s the case – it’s just their job and like anyone else, it sounds great from the outside but only those that do it actually know what it’s like.

    • It’s about fandom really.

      Companies are rarely tribal, sports usually are, which is why the Olympics were such a refreshing change; the tribes were unimportant.

      Fans expect too much and then we’re disappointed when our values aren’t held up by those on the pitch.

      But all we can do is shout and sing and leave it to the players, which is why we hope they care.

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