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Change resistance is just poor Change Management

I rec

ently came across this quote in a change management forum.

To successfully implement change, you must first allow people to grieve for their loss.

What a complete load of twaddle.


I don’t need time to grieve Windows 7 before I upgraded to Windows 10. I’m a bit sad about the abs I used to have before I had kids, and saying goodbye to my dear sweet chocolate lab always makes me well up. But moving my invoices off of Excel to MYOB….not so much.

I don't believe people are resistant to change. In most cases, they just take it in their stride. Facebook and LinkedIn often change formats without warning. After a little whine, we just get on with it.


(*Gladwrap did move the location of the cutting edge of their clingfilm to a stupid location, rendering thousands of people unable to wrap up their sandwiches, but I don't think they had a change manager on that project as there were not comms on the box.)


In this article I’ll discuss why I think change resistance is mostly fictitious and why you should focus on change delivery instead.


The only time I had real change resistance was 1988. I’m not kidding! I had to re-train local government secretaries to use word processors instead of electronic typewriters. These poor ladies were scared to death! They were worried if they couldn’t master the new technology, they would lose their jobs.


With careful and patient training, I was not only able to educate them, but also empower them. Correctly forecasting that within a few years, there would be a computer on every desk, and these ladies they would soon be the powerful computer experts in their office. I still remember the WordPerfect 5.1 shortcuts - do you? What does Shift F7 do, ALT + F3?*


I believe in 2019 we have very little change resistance.

“No please don’t give me a new faster lighter laptop I love my old, slow desktop.”

“No, I don’t want to move from the dingy office in Market Street to floor 21 at Barangaroo... with the height adjusting desk and sparkling water on tap.”

Even with regulatory change, because it is ultimately protecting the customer, most employees are on board.

Most changes simplify processes and save time. Your challenge will be getting people to attend briefings and training so that they can fully understand and adopt the change.

Lack of engagement is not change resistance.

Your perceived change resistance is a combination of you not delivering your change in the right formats for employees to consume and the right sponsors not getting behind your communication plan and reinforcing the change message.

Focus on great change delivery stop worrying about perceived change resistance.

What if your change adds more steps and tasks will take longer? There will be change resistance if we deliver a change that will result in more work for people.

I disagree.


We rarely deliver a pointless change. If something will take longer, and have more steps, there is a good reason for it.


Time management, prioritisation and open communication with our leaders about what we can achieve in our roles is part of everyone’s job. During your change delivery call out what people should do if they will have issues managing their time. Are there other time-saving tips you can give them? Perhaps include a section about time management and prioritisation in training collateral.

Time management, prioritisation and open communication with our leaders about what we can achieve in our roles is part of everyone’s job. During your change delivery call out what people should do if they will have issues managing their time. Are there other time-saving tips you can give them? Perhaps include a section about time management and prioritisation in training collateral.


We need to stop concentrating on change resistance and focus on excellent change delivery.


Don’t let a small cohort of miserable buggers shape your change delivery.

There will always be negative people in your change audience. They’re negative about everything and anything.

If you walked up to them in the street and gifted them a solid gold bar, they’d moan about how hard it was to carry it home.

You cannot please these people. Just think, some poor bugger might have to be married to them! Wherever possible, ignore these naysayers and concentrate on your early adopters who will champion your change and be ambassadors for your change. (more about this in my next article)

Remember, some people are happiest when they are moaning.

The try before you buy approach

I suggest AAKDR instead of ADKAR

I can’t desire something I don’t know much about.

In 2000 we were in the market for a luxury sports car. My husband wanted an Aston Martin, British racing green. For a few weeks, we visited car showrooms where snooty sales reps looked down their noses at us for bringing toddlers into a luxury car showroom. We’d never considered a Porsche, but one week thought we’d look anyway.


In less than 20 minutes, our little family drove out of the showroom in a silver Porsche. “Take it for the weekend” they said, “Get away into the countryside, see how it works. Go grocery shopping, see if it works for your lifestyle. Check if the kids feel safe and secure in the back.”

Predictably, we asked if we could keep the car. Also, predictably that one was not available, and we had to go on a waiting list for a few weeks, until another, slightly more expensive one materialised.


After KNOWLEDGE and ACIVITY we truly DESIRED a car that we were not even AWARE we wanted.

A

fter purchasing the car Porsche sent us on a track day to learn how to drive the car. Deeper learning.


You often don’t DESIRE something until you’ve experienced it.


Think about: What light learning and practice you can give your audience to get their buy-in. Then what additional deeper learning can you provide to assist their development.


In summary

Delivering highly visible, engaging communication and learning around a change get's most people on board. Participation and engagement of your audience will always be a challenge, but that's why I'm here to give you cool tips and ideas :)

As always please feel free to share, comment, and of course completely disagree :)

*SHIFT F7 is print and ALT + F3 is reveal codes