Resistance to change is often linked to the fact that changes were not sufficiently explained, and therefore not understood.
When auditing an area of a given business, how many times have I heard: “I was told to do it that way”, “that’s how we do it”, “I don’t know what this is for but I do it anyway”… – some of you can most certainly remember instances where you’ve heard just that.
The question that springs to mind is: Why don’t people know the purpose of what they do or challenge tasks they have been carrying out for years?
I believe that the answer to this question is: Because we don’t share.
When I mentioned in my introductory line that change was not explained, I did not mean to suggest that we merely need “better training”, “better documentation”, “better communication”.
These are important areas but the key to successful change management is “better sharing”.
- Why do we need to change (e.g. to reinforce the position of our products in the market)
- What are the expected goals (to be able to launch a new product line)
- How and what are we going to change (implement a workflow solution to drive product development)
- What role does each individual team member have
By going through the above points and sharing your vision, individuals who are going to be “affected” by change will look at it in a completely different light. They will understand the purpose of what they are going to do and why each individual’s buy-in is essential to guarantee success – in other words: they will feel that they own the change.
To reinforce this feeling of ownership, carry out regular reviews and encourage your team to suggest further improvements which may in turn lead to further change.
By following this process, a self-perpetuating change culture will become the norm in your organisation and will enable your business to constantly adapt – because your people will no longer resist change, they will drive it!
Give better sharing a try because ‘when you’re finished changing, you’re finished’ (Benjamin Franklin).