Resistance may be futile … but it’s only natural
So as leaders, we are responsible for making these changes happen. In business at its most simple level, changes we have to lead may be new technologies, new ways of working, but they may also be radically different business models that could have a fundamental impact on the lives of the people who work with us. Now it would be no surprise to me to learn that a few of us have found the task of delivering and embedding such change to be quite a tricky one.
So what can we do to make it easier?
- Firstly, accept that resistance to changing on the part of the people affected by it is only natural. This can be thought of as a curve, which maps the psychological journey made by people confronted with change. Early feelings of denial are followed by fear and anxiety, subsequently gradual acceptance, leading to changes ultimately being accepted and even ultimately embraced (yes, that does happen!).
- Secondly, be aware that the earlier you get buy-in from those affected by change (often referred to as ‘stakeholders’), the smoother the resistance curve is likely to be. Make your consultations with those affected early, sincere, genuine and meaningful.
- Thirdly, communicate, communicate, communicate during the transition process. This is an effective way (arguably the only effective way) to minimise the feelings of fear, anxiety and depression and consequently minimise the negative personal effects of change on people (and consequently their view of you as a leader). At Business Doctors, we run an extremely effective staff communication workshop to get staff engaged with and motivated by significant changes in a business. We’ve seen how it works in practice.
Do these and people will thank you for it. Trust me, I’m a doctor …
Read more about the process of personal change on the Businessballs web site http://www.businessballs.com/personalchangeprocess.htm
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