Top Ten Reasons People Resist Change:
1. THE RISK OF CHANGE IS SEEN AS GREATER THAN THE RISK OF STANDING STILL
Making a change requires a kind of leap of faith: you decide to move in the direction of the unknown on the promise that something will be better for you. But you have no proof. Taking that leap of faith is risky, and people will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe – and perhaps more importantly, feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction. Making a change is all about managing risk. If you are making the case for change, be sure to set out in stark, truthful terms why you believe the risk ...view middle of the document...
At the very least, as you craft your change message, you should make statements that honor the work and contributions of those who brought such success to the organization in the past, because on a very human but seldom articulated level, your audience will feel asked to betray their former mentors (whether those people remain in the organization or not). A little good diplomacy at the outset can stave off a lot of resistance.
3. PEOPLE HAVE NO ROLE MODELS FOR THE NEW ACTIVITY
Never underestimate the power of observational learning. If you see yourself as a change agent, you probably are something of a dreamer, someone who uses the imagination to create new possibilities that do not currently exist. Well, most people don’t operate that way. It’s great to be a visionary, but communicating a vision is not enough. Get some people on board with your idea, so that you or they can demonstrate how the new way can work. Operationally, this can mean setting up effective pilot programs that model a change and work out the kinks before taking your innovation “on the road.” For most people, seeing is believing. Less rhetoric and more demonstration can go a long way toward overcoming resistance, changing people’s objections from the “It can’t be done!” variety to the “How can we get it done?” category.
4. PEOPLE FEAR THEY LACK THE COMPETENCE TO CHANGE
This is a fear people will seldom admit. But sometimes, change in organizations necessitates changes in skills, and some people will feel that they won’t be able to make the transition very well. They don’t think they, as individuals, can do it. The hard part is that some of them may be right. But in many cases, their fears will be unfounded, and that’s why part of moving people toward change requires you to be an effective motivator. Even more, a successful change campaign includes effective new training programs, typically staged from the broad to the specific. By this I mean that initial events should be town-hall type information events, presenting the rationale and plan for change, specifying the next steps, outlining future communications channels for questions, etc., and specifying how people will learn the specifics of what will be required of them, from whom, and when. Then, training programs must be implemented and evaluated over time. In this way, you can minimize the initial fear of a lack of personal competence for change by showing how people will be brought to competence throughout the change process. Then you have to deliver.
5. PEOPLE FEEL OVERLOADED AND OVERWHELMED
Fatigue can really kill a change effort, for an individual or for an organization. If, for example, you believe you should quit smoking, but you’ve got ten projects going and four kids to keep up with, it can be easy to put off your personal health improvement project (until your first heart attack or cancer scare, when suddenly the risks of standing still seem greater than the risks of change!). When you’re introducing a...