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Why Do We Resist Change?

Resistance to change is one of the most common obstacles that businesses face during organizational change. Ideally, you can replace that resistance with support, boosting project results across the board.


Disruption — that’s a word I can relate to. Over the past two years, I have merged my business with a larger media company and have taken on the additional roles of publisher for two other brands. Not to mention raising three young boys with a husband who travels often for work. Actually, yes, let’s mention that! Most executives juggle these responsibilities — sometimes better than others. While my work life and personal life are flourishing, to try to balance it all, I knew I had to make some changes. 

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As necessary as it was, I found myself resisting changing my routine, and when I just ended up frustrated, I stopped and looked into why that would be. 

I was comfortable the way things were, and I admitted to myself that maybe I like a little bit of chaos — with three boys, there will always be chaos — but a change needed to happen. So, I grabbed my laptop and looked for help online. I enjoy productivity podcasts where I can acquire tips while I’m driving to work (see sidebar), and after a little Google search, I also found helpful advice at WalkMe.com. 


Of their valuable information on the site, I particularly liked Christopher Smith’s article “10 Tips for Managing Resistance to Change,”1 which actually applies to how to best prepare a team for change and working through a team’s struggles — which I found I could apply to myself and my teams. Sounds perfect. 

Here is the first of a two-part summary of Smith’s tips.

Inevitably, organizational change efforts will meet with resistance. Handling that resistance well can make change go smoothly — you can get more support, better results and higher ROI. Handle that change ineffectively, however, and you’ll run into unnecessary roadblocks; results will suffer, morale will dip and productivity can drop.


Resistance to change is one of the most common obstacles that businesses face during organizational change. Ideally, you can replace that resistance with support, boosting project results across the board.

1. Provide a Great Experience

Change doesn’t have to be boring; in fact, it shouldn’t be. The less boring — or threatening, scary or ominous — it is, the more employees will support it.

Make change fun and exciting through social activities or exercises. Change management exercises are typically played at the beginning of a meeting or work retreat, to break the ice and open communication. The better the experience you can create, the happier employees will be.


2. Communicate Early and Often

Communication is essential to success and can help you nip resistance in the bud — especially when you hold open discussions early on.

3. Deliver Benefits to Everyone Involved

Your change program should be beneficial, not just to the organization, but to employees. Benefits can include things such as skills development, improving workflows and improving work conditions. Once you have these benefits articulated, sell them to employees — they’ll resist less when they know what’s in it for them.

Next month we’ll cover tips four through 10, with an update on my and my teams’ progress.

Business & Productivity Podcasts

Before Breakfast with Laura Vanderkam
This under-10-minute podcast gives listeners practical tools to feel less busy and get more done.


The Tim Ferriss Show
Ferriss deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas to extract tactics, tools and routines you can use. This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks and more.

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
The co-founder of LinkedIn shows how companies grow “from zero to a gazillion,” testing his theories with legendary leaders. 

WorkLife with Adam Grant
The organizational psychologist takes you inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals “to explore the science of making work not suck. From learning how to love criticism to harnessing the power of frustration, one thing’s for sure: You’ll never see your job the same way again.”


Shameless plug:
AutoSuccess: The Podcast
We connect you, our readers with AutoSuccess brand partners who share their experiences and expertise to help you gain industry knowledge.  

1: https://change.walkme.com/managing-resistance-to-change/

Click here to view more solutions from Susan Givens.

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