In the Change Resistors
series, the first post on culture
discussed what happens when resistance is successful in delaying or defeating a
change initiative. Then we jumped in to covering
We’ve not discussed why
people might oppose change in the first place – so let’s take a step back.
Consider this: Not all
resistance to change is bad.
Sometimes it’s the change
initiative that’s the problem.
It could be that the
change itself is not needed. How many of
you have ever worked in a company where an executive has attempted to adopt
every new management theory that comes along? Or where someone tries to implement a practice that worked in their
previous job? Concepts usually need adaptation
before adoption can be attempted. And
sometimes – they just plain don’t apply.
What if the change is needed? There may be a problem with the
implementation plan. Maybe you’re
planning to bring a new product to market too late or too early to have the
desired impact. Maybe an internal change
initiative is being implemented during the company’s busiest season. Maybe there are parts of the organization
impacted by the change that hadn’t been identified.
When people resist change in
this manner it’s usually the result of poor communication and poor
planning. The right people weren’t
involved when the reasons for change and the plans to achieve it were
If this happens to you,
listen, ask questions, and get the facts. Everyone needs to be flexible in change
implementation – including you! When
you’re wrong or something has been omitted from the plan – fix it.
This is “good”
resistance. It shows you there are
knowledgeable people that are willing to collaborate and make the effort successful. Work with them.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about
other reasons why people may be resisting change (“the bad and the ugly”).