10 Powerful Practices That Lower Resistance to Change
Resistance to change is futile in growing organizations.
Change will happen eventually. If change doesn’t happen, organizations die.
Change indicates life. Death is the absence of change.
10 sources of resistance to change:
- Rash decision-making on the part of management. Sudden unplanned changes in direction invite resistance.
- Lack of follow-through. Teams grow weary of constant beginnings without successful achievements.
- Lack of information.
- Colliding values. Good friends part ways over colliding values.
- Insecurity. “How will I fit in?”
- Personal agendas.
- Uncertainty. Fear of the unknown.
- Loss of status.
- Feeling powerless.
10 symptoms of resistance to change:
- Foot Dragging. “If I wasn’t so busy, I could help with this change effort. But I’m too busy delivering my real work.”
- Argumentativeness. Nothing’s right or good enough.
- Lateral transfers. “Get me out of here.”
- Lower productivity. Work slow downs.
- Negative attitudes.
- Gossip and backstabbing. Resisting change motivates people to make change agents look bad.
- Increased sick days.
10 practices that lower resistance to change:
- Participation lowers resistance when values and mission align. Invite people who are impacted by change to navigate the path forward.
- Liking. You tend to believe people you like and distrust people you dislike. Trusting relationships lower resistance to change, but they don’t eliminate it.
- Transparency with goals, work assignments, changes, and intentions.
- Respecting people lowers resistance. Show respect to the people who are doing the work if you want them to support change.
- Seeking feedback lowers resistance.
- A record of seeking the highest good of others.
- Leaders who seek input and explore options before making decisions.
- A clear danger or obvious enemy.
- Frequent check ins and check ups. “What’s working?” “What would make the process better?”
What causes people to resist change?
How might leaders lower resistance to change?
How would you recommend change in an organisation (church ) where some poeple claim themselves to be this and that, saying the leader doesn’t recognise what we are, they leave the organisation and try to influence some others, but the leader knows that they don’t have anything of what they are claiming. What can be the solution to protect the organisation and maintain the growth.
Change requires people to step out of their comfort zone. If you can see the positive outcome from change you’re more likely to feel comfortable stepping out for a bit in order to move forward. I always try to remind those, who struggle with change, around me the quote:
“1N73LL1G3NC3 15 7H3 4B1L17Y 70 4D4PT 70 CH4NG3” by Steven Hawking… maybe, I can’t find any evidence that he actually said it or not.
Thanks dylw. I’m not sure I can adapt to your approach.
A great piece !. Thank you Prof.Dan, for your thought Mark!.
Change triggers uncertainty. Leaders can facilitate change through frequent communication with employees through the change (transition) process.
its very important to know that .. great thanks for your efforts
Imagine yourself being asked to work to move toward a future in which you do not see yourself being a part of. Leaders who have been to the top of a mountain and have seen the opportunity awaiting in a lush valley on the other side are obligated to enable others to acquire the vision for their participation. Resistance to change is often the result of leaders who are unable, or unwilling, to facilitate a believable vision of the potential rewards for changing.
Dan, When are you going to write a book? You are the best writer and thinker on leadership that I have seen, and I read a lot on the topic.
Thanks Pam. I’m working on it. 🙂
Man this is so helpful.
Change is the new black (and always has been). You would think with all the change that is driven by emerging technologies we would evolve as a species as one that readily and easily embraces change, but that darn cell memory of the “way we’ve always done it” is powerful. Have a great day, Dan, and keep on keeping it real.
Resistance to change implies complacency.
People resist “change”. They don’t resist “progress”. The problem is most organisations don’t progress, they “change”. Think of it this way: if you a leg in a car accident, it’s change, but it certainly isn’t progress. Most organisational “change plans” are more like a traumatic amputation than a growth strategy.
I’ve also found that asking for specific changes in specific behaviors will often lower resistance to broad spectrum change. This leverages the symmetry between behaviors and attitudes attitudes determine how we behave, and behaviors modify attitudes).
Thus, I find it often helpful to tell a colleague or subordinate, “Going forward I want you to do X rather than Y.”
For example, in a church context (where I often consult troubled institutions), rather than tell people they must change by becoming active in community service (a broad spectrum change), “this next week I want you to perform one altruistic act for someone who is not in a position to repay you or respond in kind.” I Amy even give specific instructions when I know the persons involved, the cultural issues, and the life context (e.g., “This week you will stop at the corner of Main and Maple and give $10 to the panhandler who stands on the corner with the cardboard sign.”)
After several such discrete behaviors something remarkable happens. Their attitude toward charity and self-less altruism begins to change. As these attitudes change, those changes seep down into the other foundational aspects of attitude (the cognitive and affective realms – relying on the multi component theory here…)
Sometimes we run into change resistance because we don’t know the right way to ask for it.