Change Management: 3 Tips on Dealing with Resistance

Change management is something we all have to deal with on a daily basis.  It would be nice if all of our ideas were easily put into action without any people resisting the change.  These “resisters” can fight change for many reasons: they are comfortable with how things are, they have different ideas, they don’t see your issue as a priority at this point, etc.  No matter the reason, we have to find ways to get the resisters on our side in order to implement the change we feel will benefit our department, or company as a whole.  You may think it is easier to ignore these people, but that may lead to problems in the future.

3 problems that can arise if you don’t deal with resisters

  1. The transition is slowed down.  When you are looking to implement a new process, the speed of transition is important.  The longer it takes to implement the new process and get people trained on how to use it, the more expensive it is.  The sooner everyone is on board, the better.
  2. People working against you and your change.  If you don’t get buy-in early from people, some may make it a point to make the change difficult to carry out and work with the new process.  This will cause the change to be seen as something that made things more difficult, instead of bringing about positive results as planned.
  3. Future buy-in issues.  If someone resists change on one project, they are likely to do the same for future initiatives you may introduce.  Things may become personal and what may seem to be small issues, can turn into regular resistance in the future.

So, not addressing those who are resisting change early enough can lead to a number of negative outcomes.  How do we deal with resisters, then?

3 solutions to deal with resisters

  1. Use another tactic.  Take the time to listen to the “resisters” and find out what is important to them.  Take this information and shift the focus of your change a bit to take their preferences into account.  If you make an effort to show them you are working together, they will be more likely to buy in and support your efforts.
  2. Start low.  If upper management is resisting your change, then start from the bottom and move your way up.  Building support at levels below you, as well as at your level, may allow you to gain strengths in numbers.  Then you can go to management and restate your case.
  3. Make friends with those closest to your resisters.  By befriending administrative assistants, co-workers, and people who report directly to those who are resisting your change, you can share your ideas and increase the chances of getting your message across.  People listen to and trust ideas coming from close colleagues or friends.

Once you try one, or more, of the possible solutions, you will start to see some positive results.

3 possible outcomes from dealing effectively with resisters 

  1. You will turn adversaries into allies.  The more people that are working with you, as opposed to against you, at work will allow you to get more things done.  Plus it provides for a more comfortable working environment.
  2. You will be seen as more credible and competent.  If you can implement change quickly and effectively, you will be seen as a good leader and someone who can get things done.  This can lead to a number of great career opportunities in the future.
  3. Your company culture will be more open to change.  People naturally resist change, but once they embrace some change, it is then easier to embrace more and more.  A company culture that is open to change is open to progress which can lead to better business results.

Change management will always include dealing with those who resist change.  Try a few of the solutions above and let us know what worked for you in the comments area below.  Also, click here for more information on Target Training’s seminars designed to help you handle conflict within your organization.