How many times have you felt resistance from your group members when you introduced new technology, policies and procedures or a new supervisor?
Why are your team members so resistant to change? They have many personal fears which prevent them from quickly adapting including:
- Fear of the unknown.
- Fear of failure.
- Fear of success.
- Fear of loss.
- Fear of upsetting others.
- Fear of losing their comfort zone.
They are basically in the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) mode. This is exactly why you as a leader need to address their fears. They don’t care how much it is going to make the company better as much as they care about how much it is going to affect their jobs, security, ability to be effective, freedom, ease at their work station, and salary.
SELL THEM ON THE NECESSITY OF CHANGE
When you can provide people with reasons for change, they will more likely understand that change is inevitable. How can you do this? Provide them with quotes like, “The only thing that remains the same is change.” You can also have do activities such as: write down ten technological changes that you utilize today that you didn’t use five years ago. Give them a checklist of the positive changes the company has gone through since its inception. When you sell them on the need for change and how change is a road toward improvement, you have provided a means for them to view change differently.
INFORM THEM EARLY OF POTENTIAL CHANGES
In order to help your team members find relief from their worries about the upcoming changes, you can help them by informing them early of potential changes. This should be firsthand and not written in a company newsletter or email. You want to see them face to face, so they don’t think you are hiding something. Lay out the potential changes in a simple and concise format. Then send an email with the facts, so that your people can reread what they just heard.
EDUCATE THEM ABOUT THE REASONS FOR THE CHANGES
Even if the changes will involve some necessary personnel adjustments, you can help ease the pain by explaining why the changes need to be made. While there will still be some resistance, most people can adapt if they know the reasons why. People understand there are challenges running a business. They get that even if they don’t want things to change, that the supply and demand alters with the economy. When you provide evidence of why the company needs to move forward, most people will jump on board.
PROVIDE FACTUAL INFORMATION ON HOW THE CHANGES WILL CREATE A BETTER SITUATION FOR THEM
Here is where you need to provide the WIIFM to your team members. They will not buy the sale unless they believe you are doing everything within your power to help them keep their jobs or to make their jobs better. Granted, there are some situations where keeping everybody is impossible, but your employees need to believe you understand their value. If your message is based solely on what is best for the company in terms of bigger profits, you will be spending more time putting out fires rather focusing on creating better opportunities.
ALLOW TEAM MEMBERS TO HAVE A VOICE
In the early stages of creating organizational change, ask team members what challenges the company has. Let them voice their concerns and allow them to provide possible solutions. When you do this, you are acknowledging their value to you and the company. You will probably also learn things you did not know.
ASK EARLY, OFTEN AND CONTINUALLY
If you learn to ask your team members for their knowledge, you are not only learning things you did not know, but you are building a positive relationship with them. Once they understand that their voice is valued, they will come to you with suggestions, ideas, concerns and solutions. If you only ask them once and then fail to listen to what they have said, you are building trouble rather than building bridges.
REMEMBER THE KEYS
You can either fight against your group members or have them join with you in the effort to create positive transformations. How you share the process with employees can eliminate resistance. When you teach them change is necessary, inform them early, educate them about the whys, allow them to have a voice and keep them engage in the process, you will discover that change is easier than you ever imagined.