Dealing with and managing resistance to change
The top two reasons for employee resistance are
1. 2. A lack of awareness about the change Comfort with the ways things are and fear of the unknown.
The Top 10 Reasons Employees Resist Change 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. The individual’s personal predisposition to change. Surprise and fear of the unknown. Climate of mistrust. Fear of failure. Loss of status and/or job security. Peer pressure. Disruption of cultural traditions and/or group relationships. Personality conflicts. Lack of tact and/or poor timing. Not seeing the benefits.
The key phases for managing employees during change:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Awareness of the need to change Desire to participate and support the change Knowledge of how to change (and what the change looks like) Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis Reinforcement to keep the change in place
The six phases personal or professional change
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Anticipation. The waiting stage. They really don’t know what to expect so they wait, anticipating what the future holds. Confrontation. People begin to confront reality. They realize that change is really going to happen or is happening. Realization. Post change – Realizing that nothing is ever going to be as it once was. Depression. Often a necessary step in the change process. This is the stage where a person mourns the past. Not only have they realized the change intellectually, but now they are beginning to comprehend it emotionally as well. Acceptance. Acceptance of the change emotionally. Although they may still have reservations, they are not fighting the change at this stage. They may even see some of the benefits even if they are not completely convinced. Enlightenment. In Phase 6, people completely accept the new change. In fact, many wonder how they ever managed the “old” way. Overall, they feel good about the change and accept it as the status quo from here forward.
It is important to note that people in your organizations will proceed through the different phases at different rates of speed. One person may require two months to reach Phase 6 while another may require twelve. To make things even more complex, the cycle of change is not linear. In other words, a person does not necessarily complete Phase 1 through 6 in order. It is much more common for people to jump around. One person may go from Phase 4 to Phase 5 and then back to Phase 2 again. That is why there is no easy way to determine how long a change will take to implement. However, by using the skills we’ve outlined above, you increase your chances of managing the change as effectively as possible.
Take for example the implementation of a new software tool. If the change is implemented and you believe it was not needed (i.e., you were not aware that any changes were required), then your reaction might be:
“This is a waste of time.” “Why change if it was working just fine before?” “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “They never tell us what’s going on!”
Our natural reaction to change, even in the best circumstances, is to resist. Awareness of the business need to change is a critical ingredient of any change and must come first. If someone had taken the time to explain that the old software would no longer be supported by the vendor, and that new software was necessary to meet the needs of your customers, then your reaction (based on this awareness) would likely be very different:
“How soon will this happen?” “How will this impact me?” “Will I receive new training?”
Take this same example one step further. Assume you were made aware that a change was required, but you had no desire to participate or support the change.
“What’s in it for me.” “I doubt they are really serious about this.”
Now the tables are turned, and you may become the target of an emotional response from individuals within the organization. You may be labeled as difficult, inflexible or unsupportive. Some may say you lack initiative or vision. You may be called a cynic or pessimist.