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How to Overcome the Challenge of Resistance to Change?

How to Overcome the Challenge of Resistance to Change?

I’ve tried to supplement solutions to overcome the challenge of resistance to change in the form of quotes by lot of industry stalwarts and management scholars. It is true that change is the only entity that never changes.

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” ~Arnold Bennett

Change is resisted because it can hurt. When new technologies displace old ones, jobs can be lost; prices can be cut; investments can be wiped out. The best thing leaders can do when the changes they seek pose significant threat is to be honest, transparent, fast, and fair.

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.”
~Harold Wilson

Although leaders can’t always make people feel comfortable with change, they can minimize discomfort. Identifying the sources of resistance is the first step toward good solutions. And feedback from resistors can even be helpful in improving the process of gaining acceptance for change. The natural and normal reaction to change is resistance.

Top Reasons “Why Employees Resist Change?”

1. Misunderstanding about the need for change/when the reason for the change is unclear — If staff do not understand the need for change you can expect resistance. Especially from those who strongly believe the current way of doing things works well…and has done for twenty years!

In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.
~J. Paul Getty

2. Fear of the unknown — One of the most common reasons for resistance is fear of the unknown. 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

“Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”
~Alvin Toffler

3. Lack of competence — 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.

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
~Sydney J. Harris

4. Connected to the old way — If you ask people in an organization to do things in a new way, as rational as that new way may seem to you, you will be setting yourself up against all that hard wiring, all those emotional connections to those who taught your audience the old way – and that’s not trivial.

“When it becomes more difficult to suffer than to change… you will change.”
~Robert Anthony

How to overcome challenge of resistance to change - Gain self cofidence in new workplace.

5. Low trust — When people don’t believe that they, or the company, can competently manage the change there is likely to be resistance

6. Temporary fad — When people belief that the change initiative is a temporary fad

7. Not being consulted — If people are allowed to be part of the change there is less resistance. People like to know what’s going on, especially if their jobs may be affected. Informed employees tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction than uninformed employees.

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”
~Charles Kettering

8. Poor communication — It’s self evident isn’t it? When it comes to change management there’s no such thing as too much communication.

“If you feel like it’s difficult to change, you will probably have a harder time succeeding.”
~Andrea Jung

9. Changes to routines — When we talk about comfort zones we’re really referring to routines. We love them. They make us secure. So there’s bound to be resistance whenever change requires us to do things differently.

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
~Nathaniel Branden

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10. Exhaustion/Saturation — Don’t mistake compliance for acceptance. People who are overwhelmed by continuous change resign themselves to it and go along with the flow. You have them in body, but you do not have their hearts. Motivation is low.

“Change before you have to.”
~Jack Welch

11. Change in the status quo — Resistance can also stem from perceptions of the change that people hold. For example, people who feel they’ll be worse off at the end of the change are unlikely to give it their full support. Similarly, if people believe the change favours another group/department/person there may be (unspoken) anger and resentment.

“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.”
~Tony Robbins

12. Benefits and rewards — When the benefits and rewards for making the change are not seen as adequate for the trouble involved.

Scale Your Resistance Management Plan

Resistance will come in all different shapes and sizes, depending on your specific change. The grid on the next page highlights critical considerations regarding the customization of your resistance management activities based on the size of the change and the attributes of the impacted organization.