Today in Change Resistors we’ll
tackle some common leadership pitfalls. These
behaviors cause leaders to underestimate the impact of change or inaccurately
set organizational expectations.

Skimming the Benefits

An organization is a
complex system. Change in one area has a
habit of cascading through many areas, requiring you to adopt a holistic

As we discussed in Leadership’s
, if you’re not prepared to tackle the tough problems – all of them
– reframe your effort to match your resolve or abandon it altogether.

Some common problems from
which leadership shies away include:

  • Aligning incentives
  • Defining new metrics (abandoning ones that are no longer relevant)
  • Addressing personnel issues in a timely and appropriate fashion 

Scaling down the impact
(time, resources, reach) will result in a scaled down benefit or, depending
upon how realistically it’s done, no benefits at all.

Leaving a Hole

When change efforts remove
or minimize organizational traditions or values you must plan to fill the void. What are the new values? What are the new stories
and traditions?  

These replacements must
have meaning
in order to minimize resistance. They
must be:

  • Consistently demonstrated
  • Communicated and rewarded
  • Of equal significance to what they’ve replaced

Competing Demands

When people are learning to
do their jobs in new ways everything takes more time. If deadlines can’t move then you may want to add
resources. If possible, implement change
during off-peak business cycles. 

When that’s not possible,
frequent, clear, two-way communication can help set expectations about the benefits
and burdens of the plan. Be honest!

Remember that recognition
and incentives can go a long way in showing participants that their extra
effort is appreciated and vital to the company’s success. 

Previous Posts in this

Collaborative Series
, Outline
(updated today), Culture,
, The
Bad and the Ugly
, Passive-Aggressive
, Decision
, Snipers,
, Brain
, Me
and You

Next week we’ll discuss
process issues that impede change and then we’ll end the series with a summary
of some general principles.

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