Book Sneak Peak: Handle Resistance to Change

Over the next few weeks, we will be providing you some sneak peaks of our book, “wHolistic Change: Delivering Corporate Change That Lasts.” Links to buy are coming soon…

Chapter 11, Handle Resistance to Change

Explanation of the Technique

wHolistic Change℠ attempts to drive out fear by performing all of the tactical activities we have included in our approach. However, despite the best intentions, you will still encounter resistance to change.

These are the techniques we use to handle and overcome resistance to change:

  1. Keep the change itself simple and easy to adopt.
  2. Ensure that peoples’ incentives are tied to the change.
  3. Involve middle managers throughout the change planning process.
  4. Recognize that resistance to change is normal.
  5. Maintain your sense of humor.
  6. Don’t take anything personally.
  7. Communicate constantly.
Figure 34. Resistance is natural: The goal is to drive out fear so that people are willing to change.

Figure 34. Resistance is natural: The goal is to drive out fear so that people are willing to change.

1. Keep the change itself simple and easy to adopt

If the change is viewed as too onerous or as taking too long to see results, it will not be successful. People will give up before they truly give the change a chance.

Ensure that your case for change is clear and that you have built the support structure your organization needs. Depending on the nature of the change, the support structure may require templates, samples, job aids, and/or training materials to set your people up for successful adoption of the change. See Chapter 16, “Determine Training and Development Needs” for further information on ensuring that your employees have the tools they need to be able to change.

2. Ensure that people’s incentives are tied to the change

If there is a disconnect between people’s incentives and adopting the change, people will focus on how their bonuses are decided—even if they recognize that change is the right thing to do.

Engage Human Resources to align all impacted employee incentives to adopt the change:

  • Front-line employee incentives are tied to adopting the change and to becoming certified, if applicable
  • Middle-management incentives are tied to ensuring that individuals are embracing and adopting the change and that people are becoming certified, if applicable
  • Owner incentives are tied to demonstrating commitment to embracing change and that their stakeholders are adopting the change
  • Sponsor and/or champion incentives are tied to the business outcomes expected from the change

A key pitfall to delivering change is no or limited engagement of Human Resources in assessing the impact of the change to peoples’ roles and responsibilities.

The role of Human Resources is to help hire and train workers to ensure the best results for your company. If Human Resources is not involved in the process, she may not understand the changes needed in employees in order to help incent the change. Or Human Resources may continue to hire people based on how the company previously did business, instead of how it needs to do business in the future…

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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