How to overcome resistance and increase support for change

In virtually every company I talk to, who are implementing changes, they recognise that no matter how robust their new processes and systems are they need their people to buy in to the new way of working in order for them to take responsibility for its success. And yet, they don’t really know how to go about that. Their external consultants are more likely to be technical and process experts rather than experts in human behaviour and culture change so not ideally placed to help on this.

A while ago I worked with a blue chip manufacturing company who were well down the road to implementing a “lean” operating system when they realised that people weren’t really getting behind it. In fact, a small but influential minority were actively undermining it. We worked together to help people move from feeling that the changes were being imposed from on high by people who didn’t understand their particular demands and constraints, to workers at all levels from plant manager to production line staff feeling they owned the process and were responsible for making it a success.  Instead of spending time and energy moaning about what wouldn’t work, they focused on how to make it work and in the best way possible.

So tell me,

  • How well are your people engaging with new initiatives?
  • Is it more challenging to get their buy in now than it used to be?
  • What works and what doesn’t work when introducing change?

3 Responses to How to overcome resistance and increase support for change

  • Julie,
    In my experience effective shifts in organizations start with the understanding that process improvements, new initiatives etc ARE behavior change initiatives and need to be treated as such. This does not have to be a huge external project. Understanding what it means to change behavior should be part of good leadership skills.

    First, leadership needs to understand how change happens, that people go from awareness to acceptance to action, how to get buyin without forgetting that as a company, they must also make a profit to move forward. It’s a fine balance. If leaders are well versed in how to motiviate and change behaviors, things shift much easier, without as much pain, because the potential issues/opportunities are anticipated and addressed early on. Change management is an accepted part of the strategy and the project plan.

    In addition, if they have hired external consultants for their technical or process skills but they do not have change management background, then leadership needs to augment that with change management skill sets either internally or externally. Awareness and management of change should not just happen from external folks but from excellent, well rounded and intelligent leadership. From my experience, this makes change less overwhelming and threatening and more a part of everyday work.

  • Hi Julie,

    Nice post! But the most important thing is how you convey the change to others so as to get people happily behind it. If the change does not work then what? Do a review every three months and see your progress, right? If it is not coming off then Trash it! Isn’t it?

  • 1.Moderate
    2.Yes it is
    3.Change that improve the real thing will work well,change that applied out of actual need will only become a program of change and will be lefted out at later time

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