In any improvement project, there are risks of failure: budget exceeded, poorly adapted solution, rejection of teams. If the technical constraints are easily addressed, the impact of the change on human beings and their reactions is more uncertain. It is in this context that change management comes into play. In this article, I propose to understand the causes of the resistance of change, to better address them. In another article, I explain how to go beyond change management and fully integrate business solutions.
Change does not please the human being. It’s natural, we all have a routine, which secures us and any modification of this routine awakens our fears of the unknown.
Take several examples to understand it: you go grocery shopping every week, you often buy the same products and know where to find them. If the location of the milk changes, you will be disturbed: you will have to look for it. “Where did they put it?” and that will probably cause frustration.
Another example: you take the same route every day to go to the office. One morning the street you want to take is inaccessible: it is one way from now … I let you imagine your annoyance in this situation.
In the company, the same behaviors and reactions occur. Let’s not forget that each of us spends about 1/3 of our time at work. Many habits and routines are linked to it and the rejection reaction is inevitable.
Why some refuse change?
A priori, faced with a situation of change, everyone refuses: everyone knows what he has today and does not know what he will have tomorrow, or just consider what he loses in the current situation (I do not know where is the milk, I will have to change my route)
It takes time and analysis to understand the benefits of change and to embrace it. This is a balance as explained in the video Overcoming Resistance by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s and Ilan Eshkoli.
The drawbacks of the current situation are known and mastered: I put in place strategies, solutions to deal with them, they annoy me less. I am familiar with the current benefits. In the future situation, if I lose them, I am disappointed: I am not a winner, I have less than before, it is the main disadvantage of the new situation
I do not know the benefits of the new situation. If I do not look for those, I can not really evaluate both situations and compare them objectively. As an actor of change, it is necessary to put ourselves in the shoes of the teams concerned to help them chart the current problems and future gains: these are often the two least visible aspects.
Highlight the less visible aspects of change
In the two previous examples, the disadvantages of current situations could be: the lack of space to store the different brands of milk or a large number of accidents at the pedestrian crossing. The advantages of future situations could be a shorter distance between bottles of milk and the cash register or a reduced circulation in front of a school, … it is necessary to help the individuals to evaluate the advantages of the new situation.
Nobody resists change to resist it. It is necessary to evaluate the gains and the losses whether I change or I don’t.