Wednesday 16 March 2022

Resistance to change: causes and methods of overcoming

Changes accompany a person all his life. Everyone knows that without change there is no life. However, few people recognize that he needs to change under the influence of the leader. The manager plans changes in the organization, but people make them, which means that people must change their behavior, change themselves. That's where the resistance comes in.

Resistance is a conscious action of a person (sometimes inaction) aimed at delaying the adoption and implementation of certain decisions in the organization. There is an axiom – resistance to changes in the organization always arises. And restructuring, and the introduction of new products, and moving to a new premises - any changes cause resistance.

However, the strength of resistance is different. Here are three cases from our practice that we had to face this year (enterprise A, enterprise B, enterprise C).

The task of the management of enterprises was the same - to restructure one of the areas of activity. And in the first, and in the second and in the third organization, the head planned to create a common structure on the basis of several services focused on one type of product, with their subordination to one person. The task of separation into a legal entity was not set, although in the future it was assumed. The conditions for all managers were approximately the same - there is no money, the market prospects for the new business unit are vague, the products are on the verge of unprofitability.

In Organization A, nothing happened – the order for reorganization had to be canceled three months after signing. In organization B, the plan was implemented by half - a new structure was created in 6 months, but without direct unification of those services that were supposed to be merged. In Organization C, a new structure was created, and quickly. What is the reason why people either accept change or not?

2. Change Management

To manage the process of change, despite the resistance of the staff, the manager needs to have clear goals of change built into the development strategy of the enterprise, imagine the stages of implementing changes, "recruit" supporters, think over special "motivating" activities for employees and understand that, having started the process of change, you will have to go to the end.

Clarity of the ultimate goal

When we plan changes in the organization, we need to be clear about why we are making them.

Enterprise A is state-owned. All these years, the main activity of the department was reduced to the extraction and distribution of public money to maintain the existence of employees carrying valuable scientific potential. Commercial (non-state) orders were also seen as a way to maintain the most valuable employees. When the three departments tried to merge, it was perceived as a loss of scientific potential, contrary to the declared goals of the management for the organization as a whole. In order to carry out such a restructuring, it was necessary to formulate the main purpose of the organization's existence in a different way.

Stage breakdown

You can validate changes on a limited scale before making a final decision. You can organize working groups that will prepare changes, working out the details of decisions and their consequences. However, these methods cast doubt on the possibility of changes, as they can lead to a negative result with non-obvious reasons. If the supervisor is sure of the need for changes, the so-called "accordion" method is most acceptable. The implementation process is divided into stages, at the end of each stage a certain "intermediate" solution is implemented.

Pre-start voltage.

At the beginning of each stage, it is necessary to create some level of tension. What happens if everything stays the same? You can dramatize the situation by calculating the number of days "that we have left", which was publicly done in the case of enterprise B. In a situation of a real crisis, it is easier to "intimidate". For example, in situation C, which was mentioned above, the enterprise is officially declared bankrupt – this fact gives drama. Leadership has a time during which people resist change less.

Distribution of responsibility and translation of the general task into a personal, specific one.

It is possible to impose changes abruptly only when there is no other way out. Crisis or premonition of crisis. However, in most cases, it is useful to identify "change agents", giving them certain powers at this stage of change, increasing in status. These people will be able to assign tasks to their subordinates.

Recognizing the need for change in the organization, a person does not want to change something in his work. Someone does not like to take risks, and changes are uncertainty, risks. Someone is afraid of being superfluous, not to fulfill a new role. Someone thinks that they will lose face in the eyes of the leadership. Proponents of change from the management apparatus and middle-level managers will help to overcome this.

In Situation A, the manager tried to appoint a "weak" manager to head the new structure, assuming that this figure would suit the heads of the merged departments, and was mistaken. In case B, the "change agent" chosen by the head of the enterprise was able to resist resistance with a significant increase in status.

To give new information is a "theoretical basis".

Specially organized training provides an understanding of the validity of the changes. Allows you to find out, as they say, examples from the work of other enterprises. Gives you the opportunity to explain yourself to others. Such training was actively conducted at Enterprise B and partly at Enterprise C.

Presence of supporters

Supporters need to be prepared in advance, before the goals and ways of change are announced. Their circle may be small. Also, it doesn't have to be people in high office. The main thing is that they understand the meaning of the necessary changes, are ready to take part of the responsibility and make some sacrifices. To do this, it is sometimes useful to put a person in an atypical situation for him. For example, to give an opportunity to the manufacturer to take part in events to promote products on the market. If it is necessary to dismiss key persons in the process of carrying out changes, supporters will be able to replace them.

Special "motivational" activitiesRigidity of the leader

The plan of such activities, which have an impact on a large number of employees at once, should be thought out in advance based on the specific situation in the organization. At Enterprise B, such events were targeted group discussions.

The more serious the changes, the more likely they are to lead to open aggression. For example, there is a "man splashing saliva." He can devote all his time in one way or another to resisting change, while trying to actively influence others, making open accusations, publicly demanding detailed indisputable arguments proving the positive impact of change. Sabotage, blackmail, pressure can be used. If you do not fight resistance, then the changes that have been started will turn out to be harmful, so the leader must show firmness. Sometimes it's very difficult.

3. The role of motivation in change

Suppose you have developed a change management plan and are implemented. Is it enough that the actions are carried out "correctly"?

There is one more point. It is important what people see as the meaning of change. By making changes, the manager hopes that the organization will develop and employees will work even more efficiently. Overcoming resistance, it is necessary to set new guidelines that a person can perceive as motivating for new actions. It should be borne in mind that working on changes in the organization is working with the motivation of employees.

Motivation is the energy of change. Human motivation is determined by three components - the instinctive nature of needs, the conditioned-reflex organization of the higher nervous activity of a person and the human desire for meaning. The latter distinguishes man from animals and creates a huge potential for change. It is possible, relying on the instinct of self-preservation, to intimidate and achieve submission. You can raise wages and cause a positive reaction. But if people misinterpret the meaning of the changes, the expected result will not be.

However, how to convey the meaning of what is happening to all employees? Or rather, how – it's kind of clear. It is necessary to write, discuss, connect to the implementation of changes. But due to what people can feel the correctness of the chosen path until the result is obtained, which forces them to invest in something that is not obvious. I think they can only believe it. There is no other mechanism. The leader can go by trial and error, but he must believe in the result himself, otherwise he will not be able to make others believe.

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