The Challenge of Organizational Change
Change management consultants have long sought to remove barriers to organizational change. With change a constant for most companies, flexible and agile organizations that can adapt to new challenges and new constraints will succeed in the long term. Until the most common roadblocks to change are fully understood, change will continue to be a struggle for most organizations.
The Value of Removing Obstacles to Organizational Change
It is certainly in an organization’s best interests to smooth the path of change. Employees who do not encounter barriers during change report being:
What Change Research Says About Barriers to Organizational Change
Why are so many companies and employees stymied by change in the workplace? In most studies, researchers observe three major barriers to effecting change based on three different employee beliefs.
Regardless of the root cause, the more that employees feel actively involved in and empowered to make changes in a way that makes sense, the better your chances for lasting change.
When people are not confident in their abilities to change, focus on providing targeted training, practice, coaching, and feedback.
When employees are not fully committed to change, leaders should focus on understanding how to best reward and recognize the desired behaviors. In general, you want to reward and provide positive feedback for the behaviors and performance that you want and have negative feedback and consequences for undesired behaviors and performance.
To be effective, rewards and consequences for change must be perceived as meaningful, timely, fair, proportionate, consistent, expected, and aligned with the changes you seek.
The Bottom Line
If your change initiative is struggling, invest the time to identify your change roadblocks and actively involve those most affected by the changes to design a practical plan to turn the tide. Then consistently monitor progress, communicate results, and hold people accountable to the new way. Change is rarely easy, but it can be done.
To learn about how to remove barriers to organizational change, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership
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