Change Management and Resistance
"To Improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often"-Winston Churchill
Nothing can better emphasise the need for change. Every organization needs to change with time; failing which, it stands the risk of being pushed into oblivion and being labeled as obsolete by the more enterprising competitors in the market. Change you must, at the needed intervals. Change could be effected in the overall policy and procedure, in the infrastructure, in the structuring of staff, etc. Whatever the parameter being touched, you will surely face a challenge while implementing the said change - Resistance to the change! Yes! You will encounter stiff resistance to change. It may be due to the apprehension of the unknown, or could just be an internal inertia. To implement successful change, as a manager, you need an overall leadership force that is greater than the combined force of resistance. You need to use your leadership skills to address the resistance.
Pls review my earlier posts where I've given the basics of 14 rules of Management.
To begin here, let's study why people resist change:
1. Lack of communication
Change often does not take off because the people, who are to carry it out, do not know what they are supposed to do. The manager has not communicated well the detailed aspects of the change. People may only understand the change in broad terms and not in practical terms. They may not see what they should do differently. This generally starts happening from the top of the Organization where Organization which lacks clarity of goals and vision.
Change may fall through because the staff does not know how it should go about it. They may lack the knowledge, skills and experience to implement the proposed change. Often, leaders may not be able to perceive the shortcomings in this area because the staff does not feel comfortable disclosing its lack of knowledge or skills. Thus, it may go about change in the wrong way, as it does not possess the right skills or knowledge. With dismal results from the initial implementation of change, they may get frustrated and decide to go back to what they had been doing.
3. Goal oriented
Another reason why the staff may resist change is that they do not know why they should undertake a specific change.They may not be convinced about the purpose of the change or they may not see the benefits of the change. Hence, they would not commit themselves to the change and cooperate to ensure its success.
4. Involvement of parties Resistance may also arise if people are not clear about who are specifically involved in the change process. Too many parties involved in the change without a clear definition of their roles will bring confusion and frustration. It leads to conflicts and affects the results of change programmes.
5. Proper support Commitment to change from the top is critical. Many well-planned change programmes have failed because leaders who plan the change do not follow up with the necessary support. Support in terms of resources, know how, moral support and motivation is needed to ensure smooth implementation of change. Often, you encounter teething problems along the way and thus continuous support is needed to ensure that the change stays on track.
6. Lack of courage
Change programmes often fail not because of lack of skills but because of absence of courage to implement the change. Managers do not create a safe environment for people to experiment or try new things. People feel that it is risky to undertake any change.
7. Poor motivation
This is a powerful resistance to change. There are more change programmes that failed due to lack of motivation rather than the lack of know-how. A clear and outright declaration on how people are going to be rewarded if they achieve successful results from change would go a long way. An environment that penalises mistakes and not reward change will have everyone preferring the status quo.
To counter all these factors and implement the change successfully, as a manager you need to create a compelling vision to inspire people to change; a vision that is inspiring and dynamic. The vision should incite a sense of challenge and a deep sense of pride for people to achieve it. It should create possibilities for a dynamic future where everyone has a stake. It should provide a clear picture of what the future will be like once this vision is achieved.
Leaders should communicate the vision of the change and its implications on day-to-day work of those involved.