Last month, I discussed how “disruption” has affected both my personal and professional lives lately and how although I needed to make some changes to make it all work, I’d found myself resistant to that change.
This month, I’m continuing with a summary of steps four through 10 from an article I found particularly insightful about resistance to change within organizations (“10 Tips for Managing Resistance to Change” by Christopher Smith).
Smith said resistance to change is one of the most common obstacles that businesses face during organizational change, and if you replace that resistance with support, you can boost project results across the board.
Steps one through three were: provide a great experience; communicate early and often; and deliver benefits to everyone involved.
4. Train, Educate and Onboard
One cause of resistance is cognitive overload. In other words, too much information, too fast. When people have to learn new skills, such as software, they will often throw up barriers. This can hinder productivity and engagement, which will slow down your change project. And it will impact your project results.
Effective employee training and onboarding — through the use of e-learning tools and digital adoption platforms, for instance — can streamline learning. The result: resistance drops dramatically.
Digital technology makes it easier than ever to personalize many areas of the employee experience, such as offering personalized training; individualized career development pathways, through HR counseling, mentorship and e-learning opportunities; and multi-channel communication strategies that allow employees to choose their preferred communication style.
6. Champion and Lead Change, Don’t Just Manage It
Change programs should be led, not just managed. There should be a visible, actively engaged leader at the top, however, develop a system for recruiting change champions at all levels.
These advocates will help you lead change “locally,” within departments and teams. Such leaders can embody change and lead by example. This will, in turn, boost enthusiasm and decrease feelings of resistance.
7. Understand Group Psychology with Change Models
Change models or frameworks will help your change team understand the psychology of change and group dynamics. Importantly, such change models are specifically built to help you mitigate resistance and build support.
8. Be Analytical
Fuel success with data, including employee feedback; user testing and usage statistics from software; and change management metrics and KPIs. Such data can offer insight into the causes of employee resistance. You can then use that data to develop plans for overcoming that resistance.
9. React, Respond and Stay Agile
Resistance to change should be circumvented — a confrontational or dictatorial response will typically have a bad result. When you come across signs of resistance, explore its causes, then respond accordingly. Resistance left unaddressed will just fester, so address it quickly. Effective communication, employee monitoring and feedback mechanisms can help you learn about problems before they become too large.
10. Develop a Sophisticated, Multi-Pronged Change Strategy
The best approach to solving employee resistance is a multi-sided, sophisticated change strategy. A balanced approach like this will, in turn, help you understand, prevent and reduce employee resistance.
I’m still working on my renovating my routine, but now I know that when I feel myself pushing back, I can take a look at these tips and get to the bottom of my resistance. I can also apply many of these techniques to my team members as our publications grow and adapt to new media pressures and technologies.
Are you or your employees resistant to change? The old saying “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” should be thrown out the window. Let’s disrupt our ordinary patterns and put new processes in place to grow both personally and professionally.
I’d like to hear your stories. Please write me at the address above. I look forward to hearing from you.
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