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ALC’s ARTICLE SERIES

Resistance to change

Top 8 reasons why you might experience resistance to change.

Your company needs to change, you’ve worked out what needs to be done and put a plan in place but now what? Change doesn’t happen without effort, and understanding where Resistance to Change is likely to arise is a vital part of your change management plan. Here are ALC’s top 8 reasons for resistance to change:

When the reason for the change is unclear — If people 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. If it’s worked well for the past twenty years, why do we need to change it now?

Fear of the unknown — One of the commonest reasons for resistance is fear of the unknown. People will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe or feel that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction. Reassurance messages can pay dividends here – it’s not just change for change’s sake.

It takes time to move away from 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 takes time to work through.

Temporary fad — When people believe that the change initiative is a temporary fad instead of part of a strategic move. ‘Keep your head down and things will blow over and we can get back to the old days again’ is a mindset people subscribe to. Make the change part of the long term though and you’ll take this route away.

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. Empowered and informed employees have higher levels of job satisfaction than uninformed employees

Lack of communication — It’s obvious really, but so often overlooked. When it comes to change management there’s no such thing as too much communication

Trust —Your staff need to trust that embracing the change is for the right reasons. Trust and integrity within the organization here are key. If there’s a feeling they’ll be stabbed in the back, or be penalised for supporting the change, support will be short lived and superficial.

Benefits and rewards — When the benefits and rewards for making the change are not seen as adequate for the trouble involved. The ‘what’s in it for me?’ needs to be spelled out – but this could be as simple as ‘greater control over your work’ or ‘less bureaucracy’ instead of financial incentives.