Last week I had the pleasure of facilitating a change management / innovation workshop. Throughout the discussions, there was the topic of how to overcome resistance to change.
From my perspective, I am not sure most people are all that resistant to change. What they are resistant to, is being changed and there is a difference.
You see, I think if you were to ask most people, they would tell you they are okay with changing things. Of course, there will be some who like lots of change and others who will tell you that some change is good, but that doesn’t mean it has be everything. What I mean is there is a scale, and everyone fits on the scale, somewhere.
So, if everyone is okay with changing, then how come people get upset when they are required to change?
As business owners and leaders, we are paid for our ability to continually adapt our thoughts and ideas, whether that is in: how to become more efficient, how to make more money, how to use our resources in a different way, etc. We are constantly thinking about the next thing….the next great idea! This type of thinking is just an inherent part of who we are, it is hard to believe that everyone isn’t just like us.
On Monday morning, we go into our business and we declare to our employees and we are going to make “XYZ” change and are shocked that not everyone is on board with our new and improved idea. It can be a little disappointing because we thought that everyone would be excited with the change, but there seems to be “resistance”. If they are not resistant to the idea, what are they resistant to?
The truth of the matter is, that to them, it can appear that this new idea has come right out of left field. They have no idea you have been thinking and contemplating this for some period of time. They have no idea what you have and have not considered. They don’t know if you have considered the impact to them or to anyone else in the organization. They might not even know fully why it is that you have decided to change something they believed to be working. Finally, there is a question of if this is wrong and I didn’t know it, then what else could be wrong.
We both know that the decision to change something, rarely comes without some sort of evaluation. As leaders we forgot that while this is something that has been keeping up at night, in making an announcement to change something, it is also our roles to help bring our teams along in the process.
Once we make a decision, we want to “go”. We have spent enough time ponder the decision. I will tell you, when you don’t give the ones around you the time and information to get to where you are, then that is when you step over the line, to being someone who “is changing someone” and when that happens, this is when you get real resistance.
Taking a little time on the front side, will save you a whole lot of time on the back side. The more your team gets to know you as a leader, the easier change will be to make over time.