3 Tips to Overcome Resisters to Change

3 Tips to Overcome Resisters to Change
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How to Overcome Resisters to Change at Work
In our experience as change management consultants, there will always be employees who resist shifting to a new way.  But before you focus on how to overcome resisters to change at work, you must first fully understand the grounds for their opposition.

5 Reasons Employees Oppose Organizational Change
Based upon data from our change management simulation, here are the top five reasons employees resist organizational change initiatives at work:

  • The Power of the Status Quo
    For some employees, 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 workers 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 in the workforce may not agree with the direction or vision of the organizational changes; they may not subscribe to your current state analysis of the problem, may not feel the same sense of change urgency or may think you have overlooked important considerations.
  • Not Actively Involved in the Process
    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 publicly “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 organizational 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 at work.  Knowing how to overcome resisters to change should be one of your first change management training steps to creating lasting and meaningful change.

For proven tools to overcome resisters to change, download The 5 Change Leadership Lenses that You Must Get Right

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