Resistance to change can be remedied with these 4 tips

Between 50 and 75 percent of change efforts fail, and for those that succeed, many don't end up resembling the original vision, according to research cited by the Harvard Business Review.


Although all change efforts face strategic and procedural hurdles, the most profound challenge is people. Therefore, leaders must be capable of helping others overcome the innate tendency to maintain the status quo, according to the report.

Even if leaders have engaged various stakeholders in the proposed change, there will inevitably be people who disagree. When it comes to this type of resistance, it's important for leaders to listen to others' perspectives and be open to changing their approach based on what they hear, according to the report.

To quell resistance to change, leaders should keep the following tips in mind during conversations with staff, according to the Harvard Business Review.

1. Don't get hung up on speed. People might be wary of change if they feel they haven't had enough time to process the change and how it might affect their work. Encouraging people to be receptive to change requires unhurried, one-on-one conversation.

2. Really listen. When discussing people's concerns regarding a proposed change, a leader should do more listening than talking, according to the report. A major contributing factor to resistance to change is the basic human desire to be respected. If individuals feel they should have been included or consulted ahead of the change but were left out, they might be more inclined to resist, according to the report.

When the leader does speak, he or she should try to repeat back what the person said as much as possible.

3. Have an open mind. If a resistor senses a leader is only listening to his or her complaints to check boxes, he or she won't truly open up and definitely will not agree to change. Leaders should engage in conversations with resistors with truly open attitudes and be prepared to learn and, if necessary, change their plans.

4. Keep a running dialogue. The most effective dialogue with resistors usually requires at least two conversations, according to the report. The first conversation involves a lot of listening and identifying the source of the resistance. The second conversation gives the leader the chance to show he or she has really considered the resistor's complaints and how those concerns will or will not effect the proposed change, and why.


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