Managing the resistance to change is difficult. Change happens. When it happens, there’s going to be resistance to that change.
There are three simple, powerful ways of managing the resistance to change.
1. Eliminate Excuses with the Resistance to Change
The first thing you have to think about is, “What are the barriers? What are the things that stand in the way of us creating the change that you want, or your company needs?” Once these are addressed, you have the best opportunity to really impact the change that’s needed.
The biggest barrier is excuses. Every time there’s a lot of change, there are a lot of excuses. You have to understand how to address and dismiss those excuses. Excuses are like drugs: They’re easy to get your hands on. They’re easy to use. They become addictive and habit‑forming. Everyone else can see you are using them, but don’t necessarily want to call you on it — unless your usage is extreme.
2. Manage Crisis with the Resistance to Change
There are only two reasons change happens; either you have a crisis or you create a crisis. No one wants to wake up and create a crisis, but never let a good crisis go to waste.
Life is going to happen. Change is going to happen. However, you have to grow mentality. People often miss the opportunity to grow and evolve. You need to shift your paradigm in times of change to being a time of growth.
The road to heaven does go through hell. It’s hard. Change is going to happen, but it’s your choice if it’s a day trip or a daily trip. How you think about change, what you do in those times, and the decisions that you make will determine if it’s a day trip or a daily trip.
3. The Three P’s with the Resistance to Change
Plan. You need a plan of where you are going. People can operate without absolute certainty, but struggle when there is no clarity.
A plan provides clarity. There’s got to be an end, a middle, and a beginning. You need to provide the vision of what it’s going to look like when your team arrives there. As well as the darkness of what it’ll look like if your team does not make it.
Patience. One of the hardest things as a leader is to understand that massive change or even minor change takes time.
In those moments of change when you become frustrated and start to wonder if you are going to get this done, your plan is a measurable tool that gives hope. Hope is not a strategy, but we need hope especially in times of change. If you can measure the progress and discuss it, understand it, and not get wrapped in the excuses, then hope starts to rise.
Persistence. Your team depends on you to have absolute commitment and authenticity in those times when things do not work out. You need to be able to state and restate the goal.
Along that journey, some people may opt out. Sometimes people opt out because they don’t want to go on the journey. That’s OK. However, what’s not OK is trying to make the journey fit every single person. You will end up aiming at nothing…and you’ll hit it.
What are you going to do the next time you need to manage resistance to change?
You’ve got what it takes. You don’t need another book or another how‑to check list. It’s already inside you. You just need to think about it a little differently. You’ll be better for it and your team will be better for it. That’s how you manage the resistance of change.