Strategies For Managing Change – Resistance

IntroductionAny strategy for managing change needs to anticipate resistance. Resistance is natural, and it can come from employees, partners and even clients. You’re taking people out of their comfort level and probably introducing risk into their professional lives.Here are some ways to think about resistance as you incorporate overcoming resistance into your change management strategies.Who is Resisting?If you are making changes that are impacting clients, the degree of resistance will be correlated to the client’s view of the level of risk vs. potential benefit to them. Client resistance to change is so important that we’ve devoted a separate paragraph to the subject below.What Type of Resistance?For your employees, partners and others, it’s important to understand whether their resistance is passive or active.

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Passive resistance involves worrying, grousing and otherwise complaining about the change management strategy. Some call it whining, and sometimes they’re right. You can’t ignore passive resistance, even though it need not be fixed immediately. Passive resistance is a distraction, and it can slow your entire organization’s rate of learning and adoption of your change management strategy.Active resistance involves organizing others, refusing to participate in a change program or activity, and even sabotage or other serious efforts to malign the strategy.Active resistance must be confronted quickly. Acknowledge individual (or group) right to their opinions and concerns. Then define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, and hold people to them.Your goal here is not to win people over, or even to bully them over. It is only to correct the behavior. If you can do that, you’ve gotten your active resistance to the same level as your passive resistance, and you can go on with addressing both. If people or groups won’t discontinue unacceptable behavior, you must find a way to separate them from your change program, to the point where they have no role or influence.Addressing Acceptable ResistanceNow that you’re at the point where you don’t have a behavior problem, you still need to get people past their concerns.Allow time for grievances. Listen to them. Try to find something you can actually address, since many times people will feel better just knowing that something they said was acted upon.If you’ve really been listening, the group will know that and they will likely be appreciative and jump on board. A few may opt out, but since you already handled the really violent objections earlier, this should not be traumatic.Client Resistance

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Any time you introduce client impacting change, you’re going to see the guard go up. Their first question is the always popular WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) and if you have a great answer to that one you can probably win them over quickly.Even with an answer, and especially without one, you can expect to have to do a lot of hand holding. You may need to repeatedly address what is changing and why. You’ll need to show that you have contingency plans so that there will be no disruption if things go wrong.Be honest with your client. If a non-disruptive contingency plan is not possible, tell them how you’ll minimize their risks.Consider offering incentives to clients for supporting the change management strategy. If they are going to incur costs to monitor systems while you’re making changes, help them recover those costs. Show them that you have their interests at heart.

Strategies For Managing Change – The Excellent Case For Creating Your Own Culture Maturity Model

Maturity models are usually associated with projects and programmes. However, I want to make the case for developing your own culture maturity model as a preparation to the development of your own strategies for managing change.I first became aware of the significance and importance of organisational culture in 1994 when I was involved in a business development exercise with a colleague and the significance of organisational culture – initially seen solely from a business development perspective – became firmly established on our radar.We rapidly made 5 discoveries:(1) That we can construct a simple matrix that can enable us to very rapidly identify the type of organisational culture we are dealing with.The basic structure of the matrix can be used to define a template of an organisational culture, namely:- Type of culture
– A summary definition of the culture
– Evidence of the culture – i.e. its characteristics
– Key issues faced and addressed by that culture as can be seen in actions and behaviours
– The areas of major focus – or key areas of impact – of the culture

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(2) That these cultures are obvious and instantly recognisable and indisputable from the company’s own perspective [i.e. they recognise themselves as such](3) That these cultures as seen from a business development perspective form a maturity model. In other words, organisations migrate along a clearly identifiable and predictable path as their own business development skills evolved(4) That the structured template of this cultural matrix is universal and transcends our original business development perspective -i.e. you can use this template to define ANY organisational culture(5) That any organisation has more than one culture and that we are able to define a subset of characteristics of the likely orientation of these sub cultures in relation to the primary or dominant organisational cultureThis template has been used on many companies and in many, many different situations over the years – overtly [with client involvement] and covertly [i.e. I use it but don’t involve my client as it may not be relevant or they may not be receptive.]My definition of a generic maturity modelFollowing this I formulated my own definition of a generic maturity model:”A maturity model [usually represented as a schematic] is a structured description that shows the stages of evolution of an organisation in transition through various developmental states. It is pre-supposed that this evolution represents progress to more developed or advanced states of learning, insight, understanding and practise.”Having established a cultural template of where your organisation is now, you can determine the template of how your organisation will look after your step change initiative and clearly see the gaps between these positions.

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Navigating through the issues to where you want to beThis, in turn, enables you to determine a route that will navigate you through the issues that will arise – and especially to help you identify the full impacts of the changes on those people who will be most affected and to plan accordingly.And in conclusion – the reason why using a cultural maturity map to understand your cultures is so important is that they are the single biggest determinant of how people in your organisation will behave – and especially in the context of a step change – and thus determine the success or failure of your initiative.Properly applied in a change management context, this will provide you with an excellent pre-programme planning analysis process that will provide the input to the preparation and delivery of an executable [holistic and wide view perspective] programme based approach to change management.