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Why People Resist Change ….. And What To Do About It

“In order to control your destiny, you must realise that you will stay ahead competitively only if you acknowledge that no advantage and no success is ever permanent. The winners are those who keep moving.”
-John Browne, former CEO of BP
To remain competitive in the marketplace you must continue to improve your products, your work practices, your service, and your team’s knowledge, skills and attitudes. You need to look for, and successfully implement, new ideas and changes.

Yet, according to Dr. John Kotter, regarded by many as the world authority on change, 70% of change projects fail! Why is this? Usually, he says, because those driving the change tend to neglect or underestimate the impact of people’s attitudes and behaviours on implementing change successfully.

How then can you encourage your people to embrace change rather than resist it?

There are five main reasons people resist change:

  1. We tend to resist what we don’t understand
    We like to know what is happening and why.
    And the ‘why’ that is most compelling is the why this change will be beneficial to this particular person. In my experience the size of the benefit is not important, it is the fact that it is a genuine and personal benefit that matters.
  2. We tend to resist when we haven’t been part of the process
    If the change is merely announced we feel no sense of choice or control.
    It is critical to involve people in the change process as early as possible and as much as possible.
  3. We tend to resist if we don’t trust the people instigating the change
    By having a trusting working relationship with your team you are more likely to be able to encourage them to take on the challenge, and it is more likely that they will believe the benefits you describe.
  4. We tend to resist when the change affects routines and norms we value
    People feel anxious that they will be expected to work harder, learn new skills and work in a very different environment. Communicating the personal benefits,
listening to the person’s concerns, supporting and coaching are all important in helping the person to accept the change.
  5. We look to protect ourselves from uncertainty
    In any change, comfort levels and certainty may decrease significantly for a period of time. This can be very uncomfortable for many people. Keep acknowledging and addressing peoples’ concerns so that they feel more confident and comfortable about the change.

To your team’s success,