Will You Overcome this Barrier to Organizational Change?
A barrier to organizational change can bring your change initiative to a screeching halt. Change can be blocked in many ways, but one threat to successful organizational change is seldom mentioned — the barriers set up by internal stakeholders who are the very ones you need to count on for support.
Do Not Underestimate Authority
Change management consulting professionals warn you to look out for the threat that comes when you encroach upon someone else’s authority. They may implicitly or explicitly wage battle against you because they fear either the loss of power or a decrease in status when your organizational change effort is perceived to invade their turf.
Two Ways to Reduce Anxiety
Based upon data from thousands of change management simulation participants, here are two ways to reduce their anxiety and win them to your side when they form a barrier to organizational change:
Remember, meaningful organizational change does not occur without the commitment and cooperation of those most affected by the change. Smart change leaders actively involve people to increase the odds employees at all levels of the organization embrace the proposed changes.
Because organizational change is often messy and complicated, you typically can’t tell people to change or impose change on an organization if you want the change to last and your people to fully commit to the new way.
People need to be empowered to find their own path in a way that aligns with the new direction. As a change leader, your role is to provide clear direction and to listen and learn while providing visible support, tolerance, and compassion.
Help people to let go by acknowledging what they are losing openly and by trying to fairly compensate for their losses. Be compassionate when people react to unsettling change by being prepared for them to make attempts to get out of or negotiate parts of the new change while expressing high levels of fear, sadness, disorientation, or even hopelessness.
The Bottom Line
Most organizational change projects run into a few expected and a few unexpected barriers to change. Ensure your team identifies the potential barriers to change upfront and has a clear plan to handle both the expected and unexpected roadblocks along the way.
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