After the success of our “5 reactions to organizational change demonstrated by cats” post, we’ve decided to explore the change journey explained with the aid of some emojis.
The change process results in a whirlwind of emotions and those involved will, at times, struggle to deal with the new reality. It is with this in mind that I decided to create this post.
“The best way to avoid resistance to change? Seek to uncover potential resistance prior to implementing change.”
The above graphic illustrates 4 of the most common reasons for resisting change. Whether it be self-interest, low tolerance of change, misunderstanding or a different assessment of the situation, I aim in this blog post to give my readers a perspective which is easy to understand for all involved, management and employees alike, and be able to give you a sense of perspective, that when employees are experiencing one of the following emotions, you will be able to put it into the context of the bigger picture of the change. This article is about understanding the reasons behind the resistance of change; curing the symptoms is not the same as focusing our efforts to treating the real reasons that cause people to become resistors.
My theory is that everyone (Fine, almost everyone) loves emojis. We use them on a daily basis and they are an easy and fun way to reflect our feelings in a given situation. So here I go, with my explanation of the change journey, with the use of these wonderful emojis:
How They Feel: Shock and horror. When at first, the idea of change is presented to them; they freeze. Their brain switches off and they stop processing the information.
What you Need To Remind Them: Remind them of the key facts and reasons behind the change. Give them time to process and be available for questions.
How They Feel: The second stage is denial. They try rationalizing and explaining to themselves that it’s a mistake and that it won’t actually happen. Or maybe, they feel that the decision is irrational and that once management thinks it through, it won’t implemented.
What you Need To Remind Them: Help them understand the logic behind the change and they’ll be more likely to cooperate and get behind the transformation.
How They Feel: It is very likely that at this stage your team may feel angry and frustrated at the change, especially if they don’t understand why the Change is occurring. In their eyes, everything was going smoothly before the change and the fear of losing their jobs only compounds their fear and anger.
What you Need To Remind Them: Explain to them the pros of making the change and why the new system is better than the old one. Be open and honest about the likely outcomes of the change, yes, even the negative ones.
How They Feel: Many employees will try and minimize the scale to which the change will affect them through negotiations and bargaining. They will tell you that they are willing to cooperate, but only to a certain extent.
What you Need To Remind Them: They are negotiating because they fear the change. They are trying to minimise the scale to which the change will affect them and this is the time when you need to reassure them that this change will work out for the best. It has been thoroughly researched and that they will do fine, with you being there to assist them every step of the way.
How They Feel: Some will feel despondent. They feel that the change is inevitable and that they will have to go along with the transformation, whether they like it or not.
What you Need To Remind Them: Explain that you are there to discuss any issues that they have with the change with them. Create an environment where dialogue is encouraged, where they can talk to you or other managers and colleagues regarding their issues in the change.
How They Feel: This is the tipping point. They will realise that the Change is inevitable, so they will begin to explore the realities of change and start planning their way forward.
What you Need To Remind Them: This is the point where you need to step up your effort in showing them the benefits of the change. This is the time to take your incentivises and encouragement to the next level.
How They Feel: They are becoming more and more accepting and inclined towards the idea of change. The idea of change has sunk in and they are slowly becoming supporters of the new system. Congratulations, you’ve made it!
What you Need To Remind Them: Keeping encouraging and making sure you keep the forward momentum going!