Making change stick is certainly not an easy task, any every change manager faces issues in this case. Change is a current and ongoing phenomenon in the evolution of society but one that is always looked with fear and skepticism in its early stages. In organizations, change can generate resistance from employees results in an implementation difficult, or even impossible challenge organizational improvements. The managerial ability to create and maintain an environment that minimizes stress behaviors and encourage participation, acceptance and support is essential to any effort to change.
In organizations, resistance to change is the attitude or behavior indicating any opposition to make or support a desired change. Change agents often see any resistance as something to be overcome for the process of change to be successful. Not always the case. It is necessary to look at resistance to change as feedback that can be used by change agents to achieve the goals change. The essence of this constructive approach is to understand that when people resist change, they defend something important to them, something they consider that threatens their well-being.
Why Do People Oppose Change?
The causes of resistance to change are numerous, being the object of research for many professionals. Without resorting to a thorough investigation, I identified a number of reasons for this: uncertainty, novelty shock, sense of loss, economic fears, interpersonal threat, endangerment status and personal skills, concerns about competence to perform in a new environment, etc.
One team, for example, can resist buying new workstations because they never used the operating system. One can ask whether these new computers will be used as justification to dismiss a part of the team or believed to fulfill responsibilities very well with minimal aid from employees.
The human being has the characteristic habit so they can identify a number of factors that can be the source of resistance to change. A first classification focuses on two levels: individual and organizational. At the individual level, factors of economic, personal safety and professional individual, fear of the unknown, mistaken beliefs and disagreement on the need for change may be reasons for the manifestation of opposition.
At the organizational level you can identify sources of resistance such as the structure and practices of organizational inertia, inertia team threat expertise, established power relations and group cohesion, lack of confidence etc. These are very important in making change stick.
John Kotter, considered the most prolific researcher in the field of organizational change, summarizes the four main reasons why a person can generally reluctant to change, namely:
- Personal interests
- Misunderstanding – communication problems, inadequate information
- Low tolerance to change
- Differences in assessment situations
In conclusion, people may resist change because they think it’s not worth the time, effort or their attention. To minimize resistance in these cases, the change must ensure that all those who may be affected by the change are informed of the following:
- Benefit – change must bring a clear advantage for those who are required to be introduced as a currency and a better way of doing things.
- Compatibility – change must be as compatible with existing values and experiences of people who are affected by it.
- Complexity – the change should not be more complex than necessary; to enable people to understand and effort required to be minimal.
- Ability to make samples – change must be in the form of a process that people go through step by step with the ability to make adjustments during it.
Resistance to Change – a Strategy
Change agents must be prepared to deal with resistance on strategy change. Someone who tries to introduce a change by force or using punishment can create resistance among people who do not like command-management or threat of punishment. People may resist change if the data are suspect or expertise of those who initiated is unclear. It can stand when changing strategy seems manipulative and insincere.
Opposition to change agent is directed to the person who must implement change and often is based on reasons of personality or other differences. Change agents who are isolated from others or have a high emotional involvement change may face such problems. Research shows that the agents of change that are different from those who are affected by change in aspects such as age or education may face greater resistance to change.
Killer Tips for Making Change Stick
To prevent the harmful effects of resistance to change, leaders propose a model formulated by John Kotter (1979), resulted in its six approaches:
- Education and communication
- Participation and involvement
- Facilitation and support
- Negotiating and obtaining the consent
- Manipulation and cooptation
- Implicit and explicit coercion
Thus, an informed change agent has many options to manage the reluctance to change in a positive way. The first solution is education and communication. The goal is to educate people about the change before it is implemented and to help them understand the logic of the change process.
This approach is most effective when the opposition is based on inaccurate or incomplete data or information. The second way is the participation and involvement of people. With the aim of giving people the chance to contribute ideas, advice and effective contribution to the change process. This is the solution when the change agent has all the information to manage change successfully.
We support involves physical or emotional assistance to those who are experiencing difficulties with the change in question. A manager who uses this technique active listening organization problems and complaints, provide training on new ways and new people to help them to pressure on performance. This approach is the registered letter when people are frustrated by the constraints of work or other difficulties in the process of change.
Negotiation and agreement provides incentives to those who may resist change. Offsets are managed to provide special benefits in exchange to the security that change will not be blocked. It is the method used when we are dealing with a person or a group of people who lose something valuable on change.
Manipulation and cooptation refers to the use of information and structure events so that the desired change to occur. This approach is common when the other solutions do not work or are too expensive.
Finally, implicit or explicit punishment involving the use of authority to get people to accept change. Often those who resist are threatened by a variety of undesirable consequences if it complies change. This can be done in crisis situations when speed is essential, and as a last resort to deal with serious repercussions of failure to adapt.
These are the main tips that should be taken into account when it comes to making change stick.
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.