3 Tips to Overcome Resisters to Change

Men shaking hands but fighting in the background because they did not Overcome Resisters to Change

How to Overcome Resisters to Change
In our experience, there will always be employees who resist organizational change.

  • The Power of the Status Quo: For some, it is simply in their nature to prefer the status quo to a new way of doing things; they don’t want to struggle up a learning curve when the current methods have always worked well enough.
  • Not Ready for Change: Others may feel they are not quite ready for organizational change. They work at a slower pace and need to be comfortable with the “new ways” before they put them into action.
  • Not Onboard: Some may not agree with the direction of the organizational changes; they may not subscribe to your analysis of the problem, may not feel the same sense of urgency or may think you have overlooked important considerations.
  • Not Actively Involved: You may have some employees who feel they have been left out of the decision making process; they feel somewhat disrespected and, as a result, are not willing to support a move they were not consulted on.
  • Saboteurs: And finally, you may even have some employees who publically “say” they agree with the change but either behave no differently than before or purposefully fight the change efforts. If they are able to get away with this subterfuge, your change initiative is in big trouble.

Take Steps Early and Often to Overcome Resisters to Change
Deal with resistors first to help your change initiative gain the momentum required to last.  Talk one-on-one with change resistors, no matter the cause of their resistance. Here are three tips on how to effectively conduct these conversations and win them over:

1.  Listen Carefully
This is your opportunity to uncover the reason for their resistance to change, not yet to persuade. Listen far more than you talk. And when you talk, check for accuracy…repeat what you think you heard to show that you are making a sincere effort to understand their perspective.

2.  Take the Time
Change is an ongoing effort. It never happens quickly, but over time. Be patient so you can really hear what obstacles are keeping your resistors from climbing aboard the change train. It is best to simply listen at the first conversation and then schedule a follow-up several days later.  Demonstrate that you have thoughtfully considered their point of view. And then be clear on any shifts (or not) that will be made in the plan and why.

At the very least, your resistant employee will know you paid attention, reflected upon their suggestions, and valued their input.

3.  Be Willing to Change Yourself
Be genuinely interested in resistors’ thoughts and opinions. They may have a valid point! Such discussions and subsequent modifications can rescue a misguided plan and set you on a more secure and positive path.

The Bottom Line
Managing organizational change is difficult.  Do not ignore those who resist your change efforts.  Knowing how to overcome resisters to change should be one of your first steps to creating lasting and meaningful change.

To learn more about how to overcome resisters to change, download The 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership

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