I hope at this point, if you’re not pursuing a career in management, or something that involves using change management skills, then we have piqued your interest in it with our long look at this science thus far. We’ve looked at different models, different technologies, and we’ve seen a few types of very specific scenarios and the approach they bring in. But, interest brought on, you need to know the change management challenges that you will most commonly encounter in this field.
Like any science, be it soft or not, there are a set of universal constants, some of which are obstacles endemic to the field that must constantly be overcome again and again. The change management challenges are especially tedious at times, because a lot of it is due to humanity itself.
If you’re not “good at people”, then you’re faced with extra challenge when these issues come up. Well, let’s look at the three nastiest ones, and how to handle them, for those of us who aren’t social butterflies.
#1 – Freezing
We’ve talked about this off and on, and while one or two specific fields of industry don’t actually have this problem so much, most of them definitely do. People are hesitant to adopt new ideas and changes to routine, even if subconsciously.
This means you have to spend a bloody long time getting people to see the need for the changes you want to make, to want the proposed improvements enough to tolerate your tinkering with their workplace.
How do you do that …
Well, you do that by first establishing an understanding of the people involved, and instilling the same understanding of yourself in them. Know the people, and how they think. With this edge, you know how to pitch it in a way most will embrace it.
#2 – Training
Ok, this one’s not that bad now. A couple years ago, it was horrendous. But, many aren’t aware it’s not horrendous anymore, so let’s point out why.
LMS systems, onboard training systems like WalkMe, and new learning models like flipped classrooms and gamification have made training really easy to do at an adequate level. You can never account for great skill as a teacher. But, you can get the job done well enough, if you research how to use this stuff, and how to approach people in the training environment.
#3 – Refreezing
It was a tie between refreezing and the oh so fun challenge of pacing to not stall the organization for this spot. But, I’m going to go with refreezing. It’s rather challenging. It’s actually sometimes tougher than freezing.
In refreezing, the new learning, credos, policies or technologies that have been put in place, and the comprehension of the changes by the people involved, you have to make sure of one more thing.
They need to adhere to the changes. They need for the new practices and ways of thinking being their default, so that they don’t even have to think doing it anymore.
How to do this is the joy of incentivizing people, which is usually a simple rewarding and gentle disciplinary practice as is the norm for a business environment. It’s all about picking the right range of reward and negative citation, for it to remain tenable until no longer needed.
The change management challenges you must face are tough. So, if you’re interested in this field, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to face tough things like this. If you’re not a people person, follow my advice about the shortest distance between two points here.
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.