Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Resistance To Change

Thanks to Art Petty for calling attention to the excellent column in Quality Digest by James Harrington, Managing Resistance To Change. The article is very good. Some of the barriers he cites include:

• An unclear vision that causes confusion

• A history of poor implementation

• No consequence-management system developed to accompany the change

• Too little time to implement the change

• Lack of synergy

There are a number of other reasons that people resist change, but it is important to recognize this resistance as natural. The moment leaders start thinking "What's wrong with them?" the change efforts will fail.

Underestimating people's natural resistance to change is precisely what derails a lot of business strategies and initiatives. Ignoring this, failing to recognize the legitimacy of people's resistance to change, or using a "sledgehammer" to impose change will create the opposite of the intended results.

One of the key jobs of leaders is managing change. This means effective leaders must manage people's resistance to change---they must prepare the organization for change, communicate and reinforce the goals, reasons, and people's roles and responsibilities in contributing to the change efforts. Without this, it will take longer, cost more, produce less.

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