Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is one of the major issues faced by businesses and organizations on regular basis. Major changes in an organizational structure, primarily “operations” works like a double-edged sword. People always know that it is necessary to bring changes according to changing trends, but only a few of them are able to face them without resistance. Bringing about effective changes not only bring new opportunities, but also ensure prevention and immunity from economical crisis. However, one of the biggest challenges of resistance to change is recognizing them in various disguises.

It is easy to understand and recognize when resistance is explicit and appears as intimidating encounters with others, who refuse to change. However, even savviest CEOs, experienced executives and business managers can miss signs of resistance in the organization. This is because everyone seems to work for the organization with good motives and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact root of the problem at all times.

Understanding The Source of Resistance to Change

In order to deal with the resistance to change, it is important to know the core reason of why it is happening and from where it is coming. Unfortunately, there are thousands of reasons for resistance that you’ll need to brainstorm. However, there a few common reasons that you should be targeting initially. These include: control, discomfort, resentment to increasing workload, anxiety, fear of loss of job, different perspectives and loss of power or position.

Even though, it is a hit and trial method, starting your research with the mentioned reasons will help you carry out the task in a quick and organized way, and might even save you a plenty of time. The key is to identify the reasons for resistance to change and formulate strategies that will help you overcome them. Once you’ve determined the cause of resistance, follow the below given strategies to overcome them.

Win The Trust Of Key Leaders

Winning the trust of key-leaders, who have the capability to influence groups and sub-groups of their particular department, is considered to be a great way to ensure quick and easy way to gain trust of fellow employees without direct interaction. These leaders should be holding the management positions and must have a good impression on their teams and/or department. Follow the organizational hierarchy. It will help you pick the right members for trust-building task in the organization. The trick is to pick the best influencers in your organization.

Be Open To Face The Challenges and Path Ahead

Be truthful about the challenges that you are likely to face when implementing any significant change in your organization. Even if you’re not satisfied with the situation, you should be certain about the fact that the following change will bring positivism in the current business operations and you must make efforts to implement it, regardless of anyone’s personal or professional satisfaction. Make sure you keep all your employees about what’s happening and how changes will be affecting their workload, jobs, salaries and so on. Face the challenges as they come and prepare your employees to do the same.

Build Confidence

One of the most common mistakes that businesses make is not taking their employees in confidence. It is important to communicate them in a crisp and clear manner about changes to be taken place in the organization. Despite different modes of communication, it is better to communicate with your employees face to face by conducting seminars, or group meetings for different department. Provide examples elaborating how your organization has been able to overcome past difficulties and challenges in a successful way. Give them evidence to support the slow, yet incremental progress of the company. The more confident you will be able to build, the better control you will seem to have on the situation, despite of major changes.

Communicate Frequently and Credibly

During uncertainties, people often crave for information so they have a clear picture to able to make necessary decisions. If they won’t get what they want, they are likely to lose interest in your communication process, as well as in the management as well. Even if your company is going through difficult time, make sure you communicate all the relevant possibilities to your employees. This will not just keep them informed, but also encourage them to contribute, rather than resist.

Use Appropriate Business Communication-Channels

First of all remember that there is never one best way to communicate. In the age of social media, texting, Youtube and so on, it is very easy to reach anyone you want to, and communicate everything you want to, without having to face them directly. However, there are still many people who do not own smartphones or are not much active on their social profiles, for them you need to come up with a method of a communication that will help you deal with resistance in an organized and convincing way. Make sure you use multiple channels to communicate your concern. This will help you connect with everyone in a successful manner.

Admit Mistakes

In order to soften resistance, it is important to acknowledge your mistakes and things that you are doing to correct them. This will not just minimize the amount of time spent in resolving the issue, but also open the door for others to understand and admit their mistakes as well. This essential for all the parties involved find a common ground.

Monitor Progress

Monitoring progress is crucial, as it helps you determine the differences and make adjustments accordingly. It’s very critical to set realistic goals for progress to maintain a good proportion to degree of resistance to change that you are experiencing. Make sure the decisions are getting made on time, conflicts are reducing, and projects are back on track. It is important to use concrete evidence to monitor progress, rather than following your own will.

Remember, the more resistance is ingrained in your organization, the longer you’ll have to wait to see results. Follow the given strategies to address resistance to change and see how you will be able to overcome them with new approaches, leading to success.

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Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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