Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How do you Handle People who do not Support Change Initiative.

The psychology of the change is that “People likes to change, but do not want to be changed and there is the difference.”

Change is inevitable, successful Change Management is an ongoing business capability. However, do not expect everyone supporting your change initiatives to the same degree, it’s even no surprise that only small percentage of people are changing agent, so both strategically and tactically, how do you handle people who do not support change initiative?

It is valuable to sincerely engage with people who have the symptom of “change inertia”: In doing so, you will disarm them as this is not what they are used to. It will also help/force you to get the rationale for the change absolutely clear. Resistance to change has many reasons, political, ego (self-interest), power (loss of), misunderstanding, altering habits, lack of facts, hidden agenda, lack of committing, and the person's basic personality (low tolerance to change). By engaging with them, you are sending a strong signal to those around them that you are serious about the change. It will also build your credibility as a leader and manager. They may not come on board immediately, if at all, but there is good chance that will be less likely to undermine the initiative. They will jump on any lack of clarity or weak justification. In turn, in engaging with them, do not let them get away with vague and general assertions. Make them be specific about their concerns and issues. If they can verbalize them, this information can be quite useful in planning the change initiative. If not, it will put them further on the back foot.

Resistance to change is energy in another direction: Sometimes it pays to explore that direction - and some interesting developments surface which impacts the change. Their resistance can add insight on how to manage the change more effectively and they often have useful stories and can foresee obstacles that have not yet been raised or considered. Change is often driven from the perspective of the benefits to the organization, business unit or even the employee - but that's often determined incorrectly. The organization or those responsible for the change makes the assessment, not those affected by the change. While they may believe they're considering the employees' perspective, it's not the same as actually seeking it and considering it. Greater awareness of some issues can provide insights from a hidden part of the organization that might actually help fine-tune your change objectives and increase the inclusiveness of influential individuals or groups.

Identify change agents and change laggards: Start with the basic profile that 20% will be early supporters, 20% will reluctantly or never support, and 60% are initially undecided. Seek out your early adopters and plant the seed, and help them as they work on the next round of people to show the value in the change. Meanwhile, check out what the people who “do not want to change” are doing and what they're saying because they are saying it to people other than you, and you need to know what their arguments are. The next time you're in a meeting or publishing a communication, you can assuage some of the fear they are instilling in the organization. It also shows that you're listening. Try to convert some of the bottom 20% to change supporter should have a big impact on the undecided. However, that takes a big investment of time. Sometimes too big for the potential return generated by an occasional convert. It is perhaps too hard to make everyone support changes. The logic is that the 60% will quickly see the advantage of following the 20% early supporters and effectively isolate the remaining 20% - who will either reluctantly go along or possible just leave. When observing early adopters, they fall into two camps. Genuine concerts and ‘Yes’ men, the latter can be worse than detractors going with the flow for an easy life and ultimately revert to type the minute your attention shifts. It takes both principles and practices to manage change more effectively.
“What's in it for me": It is also true that people tend to be selfishly motivated and need an answer to 'what's in it for me?' To try move them along, use deep democracy principle of 'what do you need...?' with caution - it tends to be more successful with smaller groups and people are generally willing to negotiate a trade-off once the feel they have been heard. Some people can't see beyond a very short change horizon. Time and time again when selling the big picture which is often too far along the change curve for people to see "what's around the bend."  As you approach a corner (Change), if the corner seems to be coming towards you (Resistance) back off the gas, you’re going to take the time to shorten the vision, investigate the why, build the WIIFIM, "take the right line" and time to find gains for your naysayers, even if they are small ones. It is critical to shaping a good attitude! In fact, when you brainstorm the attributes of ideal team members, the participants say skill (although a pre-requisite) is 20% of the deal, and that good attitude to change is 80%!

Change Management takes a multidisciplinary approach, the psychology behind the change is that “People likes to change, but do not want to be changed and there is the difference.” By nature we resist the changes, however, if we are part of it, it is easier to shift to the new behavior. So treat people with respect, empathy and fairness in order to make change sustainable.


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