3 Steps to Mitigate Resistance to Change
“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” ~ W. Edwards Deming
Have you ever had a great idea that was going to transform your business only to be met with resistance and wonder what the heck happened? In this short video, I talk about the art of science of transformation and share 3 steps to mitigate resistance to change.
The method I’m going to share is based on three key principles:
- A disciplined team can accomplish anything if they’re aligned to a cause greater than self.
- In order to get something new, you’ve got to stop doing something old.
- The greatest barrier to growth is resistance to change because everyone likes the idea of change until something changes.
But, if your like most growth-oriented businesses the problem isn’t that people don’t want to change, it’s that they are already working flat out. Asking them to change, whether that’s to take on additional responsibility or change the way they do what they do isn’t realistic without providing three things:
- A clear direction.
- Strong, but wide boundaries.
- Give them less work to do.
Step 1: Provide a clear direction
If you want people to change the way they work you’ve got to set a clear direction so they know what’s expected and how it will make their world better. That’s worth saying twice. They need to know what’s expected and what’s in it for them so they can figure out how to do what you’re asking them to do, in the most efficient and effective way because they know the work better than you. Remember, leadership is not about you.
Step 2: Establish strong, but wide boundaries
Workers need to know how much they can fail before they need to ask you to solve their problems for them. If you’ve read my content you already know I’m against leaders solving problems if at all possible. I know I make this one sound simple, but I know it’s not easy. I will talk more about this in later posts, but this one is more art than science. Still, you can use things like personality assessments to increase self-awareness and build a deeper relationship between leaders and those they lead so workers can strengthen their creative problem-solving muscles without you.
Step 3: Give them less work to do
And last, but not least you’ve got to take something off their plate in the short term so they can have what I call freedom in a frame. Freedom in a frame is my way of saying people need the freedom to fail small without the fear of repercussion in the short term so they can work faster and for less long term. I believe growth is a team effort and you might just be the player that needs to roll up his/her sleeves and take some work off their plate so they can focus on what’s new until they get proficient. Note, this is not a free pass to micromanage. In fact, you’re not going to do the new work, you’re going to do the stuff they already know how to do which creates a win-win. You gain empathy and the respect of your team while letting them determine the best way to get the job done which means they take ownership of the process. This approach requires trust, but that’s leadership.
If you can do these three things, you will eliminate friction. If you don’t it will create resistance and in my experience, resistance to change is the number one reason most businesses get stuck. That’s why step two of my business transformation method is to optimize the current operation before investing in creating new products and services. This approach has the added benefit of lowering costs and improving quality while increasing employee engagement so you have more time, money and energy left to invest in your growth strategy. That’s a win-win-win.
In the next episode, I’ll show you how to create a culture deck that’s going to help you create a customer-centered, culture of accountability. Thanks for watching. If you or someone you know would like help taking a business to a whole new level simply send an email to me, Steve@catalyst4business.com and until next time, think big, start small and grow the right way.