Managing Employee Resistance to Change

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Managing resistance to change
The top obstacle to successful change is employee resistance at all levels: Front-line, middle managers, and senior managers. A change in employee attitude
IS possible!
"Garrison Wynn, I just wanted to say Thank You! You will never know the impact that you have made on my life. I started back to work today with a new attitude about my job. I am more confident in myself and my ability to do my best. I do have an important job and it is important to learn how to deal with the stress that comes along with it. I feel like a new person. My husband told me that he could see an improvement in my attitude and that I looked “happy.” Thanks to you I am that new person. Please do more seminars in the Houston area." Shena Glavin, Emergency 9-1-1 Dispatcher

Growing pains
Change is not the problem: it's resistance; I want what I want when I want it. I will not be an expert anymore. I will be a senior beginner!

Excerpts from the 2005 Best Practices in Change Management, Benchmarking report. This report presents comprehensive findings from 411 companies on their experiences and lessons learned in change management. Employees want to hear messages about change from two people: the CEO or their immediate supervisor (and these messages are not the same). The top two reasons for employee resistance are

1. A lack of awareness about the change
2. Comfort with the ways things are and fear of the unknown. The Top 10 Reasons Employees Resist Change
1. The individual's personal predisposition to change.
2. Surprise and fear of the unknown.
3. Climate of mistrust.
4. Fear of failure.
5. Loss of status and/or job security.
6. Peer pressure.
7. Disruption of cultural traditions and/or group relationships. 8. Personality conflicts.
9. Lack of tact and/or poor timing.
10. Not seeing the benefits.

The key phases for managing employees during change:
1. Awareness of the need to change
2. Desire to participate and support the change
3. Knowledge of how to change (and what the change looks like) 4. Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis
5. Reinforcement to keep the change in place

The six phases personal or professional change
1. Anticipation. The waiting stage. They really don't know what to expect so they wait, anticipating what the future holds. 2. Confrontation. People begin to confront reality. The realize that change is really going to happen or is happening. 3. Realization. Post change - Realizing that nothing is ever going to be as it once was. 4. Depression. Often a necessary step in the change process. This is the stage where a person mourns the past. Not only have they realized the change intellectually, but now they are beginning to comprehend it emotionally as well. 5. Acceptance. Aacceptance of the change emotionally. Although they may still have reservations, they are not fighting the change at this stage. They may even see some of the benefits even if they are not completely convinced. 6. Enlightenment. In Phase 6, people completely accept the new change. In fact, many wonder how they ever managed the "old" way. Overall, they feel good about the change and accept it as the status quo from here forward. It is important to note that people in your organizations will proceed through the different phases at different rates of speed. One person may require two months to reach Phase 6 while another may require twelve. To make things even more complex, the cycle of change is not linear. In other words, a person does not necessarily complete Phase 1 through 6 in order. It is much more common for people to jump around. One person may go from Phase 4 to Phase 5 and then back to Phase 2 again. That is why there is no easy way to determine how long a change will take to implement. However, by using the skills we've outlined above, you increase your chances of managing the change as effectively as...
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