Why We Are Resistance to Change

Stress in life is inevitable and to quote Agent K from Men in Black:

“There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it!”

And this is how most people in organizations view change, so long as I don’t know about the real threats my organization is facing, then I’m comfortable with the way things are.

As you consider an organizational transformation of any kind there are a few core aspects you need to understand:

1. Belief Preservance — Your organization has a set of beliefs and mindsets that have over time evolved, and when you want to change the organization you need to address how the organization ‘thinks’ today. These beliefs have typically resulted in a successful company and people having successful careers, attempting to change that belief is not easy and is the first place you will receive resistance to your transformation.

2. Transparency — You need to be transparent about why the organization needs to change. Transformations often create an information vacuum that will be quickly filled by the people who perceive they have the most to lose with any change in the status quo. Take great care in explaining the challenges the organization is facing and what the outcomes will be with this change and more importantly the outcomes if the change isn’t successful.

3. Engagement — Along with high levels of transparency you also need to engage the organization from top to bottom so that everyone feels as if they have ownership of the change that is coming. Leadership needs to meet with everyone, do more listening less talking. Be sure people are heard and their engagement is meaningful.

4. Communication — Communicate, communicate and communicate more. Many transformations are started with no formal communication, the first people hear of change is when the people who are trying to transform start acting and talking differently. Those not aware of the transformation will be left confused and frustrated, which leads us back to the formation of resistance to change. You need to create a comprehensive communication plan along with an effective feedback loop.

Change is difficult, but with knowledge, support and focus we can remove a large part of the stress associated with it. As leaders, you set the tone for the success of your transformation, be mindful with your plans.

Pragmatic Agilst who has lead many organizations on their Agile Journey. Key areas of focus include Portfolio Mgt, Quality and DevOps/Automation

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Michael Connolly

Michael Connolly

Pragmatic Agilst who has lead many organizations on their Agile Journey. Key areas of focus include Portfolio Mgt, Quality and DevOps/Automation

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