Solid Advice on 4 Ways to Handle Change Resisters

The outline of a deadman on the pavement entitled "Resisted Change"

This graphic is a rather grim illustration of how some resisters of change are handled. Fortunately change management consulting experts have a far less drastic and far more effective change management process to recommend for those holdouts on your team who continue to resist organizational change.

Let’s start by acknowledging that organizational change is never easy for change leaders or followers. Far too many of us are apt to prefer the status quo…it’s known and predictable. But in today’s world, if you are going to thrive, and often just survive, you need to be flexible and adapt well to change.

Of course, there are ways to effect change that sticks. You need to be able to articulate the rationale behind the change in a convincing way; you need to get buy-in from the top on down; you need to paint the picture of how the change will be enacted and how it will affect each employee; you have to be patient as employees make tentative moves in the right direction; and you have to monitor and coach the desired behaviors all along the way.

Assuming you have done the organizational change basics “right,” there will still be those who resist. With over twenty years in the change management consulting field, we can offer solid advice on how to handle the naysayers.

  1. Don’t take it personally.
    Recognize that they are not necessarily trying to work against you personally; they just aren’t yet won over by the need for change and don’t yet see what’s in it for them.
  2. Seek first to understand.
    Openly listen to reasons for resistance and deal with them one-by-one in an objective and compassionate way. Avoid getting angry and frustrated. That will only give change resisters an excuse for digging in their heels deeper. Explain that the change will occur, and that it is in the best interests of the company and the team as a whole. Describe the specific negative behaviors you have noticed and how it impacts the team’s ability to move forward. Be clear that you expect them to make a concerted effort to improve. Your job as leader is to guide the team forward. You need each and every team member to adopt and adapt to the team values.
  3. Have empathy for their situation.
    Change resisters may be fearful that there will be no place for them in the “new” order or that they will lose influence. Listen carefully and compassionately. Provide straightforward and honest answers.
  4. Look forward.
    Work together to find a way your resister can get realigned and be a part of the company’s future. This should be a cooperative effort with both offering suggestions and agreeing upon a timeline of progress toward practicing the new behaviors that are required.

This will be one of those difficult conversations that many leaders and managers avoid. But it is necessary. Most change resisters will adjust, albeit more slowly than the rest. But if they are not cooperative, you need to help them move on. They cannot continue to be on the team; their negative pull will drag the whole team down.

Work with change resisters to help them understand and appreciate why the changes are necessary and what you expect from them.

Read About How to Successfully Recognize and Reward Organizational Change

Comments are closed.

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

Debra Martucci
Vice President, Information Technology

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More