Resistance to change has several causes. Some are simply accustomed to their routine and see no reason to change it. They have no personal reason to want to stretch. People stuck in a routine need to see the consequences of making and not making the change and what each means to them personally.

Some are afraid of their ability to handle the change. Don't expect them to tell you this! They may have self-image issues to deal with or skills they need to upgrade. They need to be asked to come up with a plan for their part in the change. This includes identifying skills upgrading as well as changes in procedures. Identifying their concerns and your willingness to support them as they make changes will encourage them and reduce their fear.

Some may have differences of opinion as to what direction the company should be heading in. They need to be heard and considered, but once you have made your decision, they have a choice to make. Either support the direction the company is heading in or find employment elsewhere. If they stay, you expect them to perform!

Whatever the cause, resistance to change is always one of the obstacles to you achieving your goals. Here are some ideas to constructively introduce change into your company:

Take away the fear of the unknown by having clear corporate goals that the change is leading to. People need to focus on the end result, not the "chaos" of the change. Tying change to goals makes it simply part of a managed process. Rather than the need for change mastering the company, you are using change as a means of accomplishing your goals. It's a very different focus!

Encourage team members to grow personally through the change process. Build positive attitudes, enthusiasm and excitement by showing how team members will emerge better off and stronger managers than before. What accomplishments will they have achieved? What experiences will they have had? What skills will they have upgraded?

Involve team members in the goal-planning process. Let them develop the benefits of the goal. Let them not only list the obstacles but also the solutions for each obstacle. Your attitude will be "there must be a way." As they develop solutions, they will gain confidence that it can be done. Involve all your employees. Each has a unique perspective and you might as well get their insight. They will benefit from being part of the process and their morale and attitudes will be positively affected.

Make sure you have some system to allow for handling unexpected obstacles and setbacks. This could include regular feedback, more communication meetings as well as your personal involvement.

Be flexible. You want the end result of the change. How you get there may be open to suggestion.

Quick Check!
What major changes is your company facing? How could you restate them as dynamic, motivational goals? What is the openness of your employees to this change? What are the consequences of not changing? Of making the change? What attitudes and behaviours must shift among your employees in order to make the change? If people are resisting change, what are the underlying causes of that resistance? Are you open to suggestions? Do you actively seek out employee participation in the change process?

Author's Bio: 

John Pellowe is President of Canadian Leadership Corporation. He specializes in helping business leaders align corporate strategy, culture and leadership teams for maximum results.