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Thirty years ago when libraries began to digitize their holdings, librarians and patrons alike complained about the change. In another example of resistance to change, a project manager for a company that implements huge accounting systems shared an anecdote that occurred when she was working on a state government implementation. So the project manager traveled to the other department and found the clerk who received the reports. Recently I have been invited to speak at a number of sales meetings and have been told, in effect, "Please shake up our old guard.
One of the most effective steps in reducing resistance to change is to establish throughout the organization a shared understanding that a change is needed.
If you would like to know more about Qvidian's tools for bringing about positive change in your sales organization, and our proven techniques for making that change unfold smoothly, give us a call. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. THE MANAGEMENT’SCHALLENGE? Discovering Resistanceo Do those who are responsible for change implementation realise that it is based on a serious need?o Do those involved describe the need for change in the same way? This paper PDF was published in the System Dynamics Review, an A journal, in January 2010.
Except for the section describing the simulation model, the entire paper is designed to be easily understood by non-specialists because that's who the paper is for.
Why, despite over 30 years of prodigious effort, has the human system failed to solve the environmental sustainability problem?
A simulation model shows that in problems of this type the social forces favoring resistance will adapt to the forces favoring change.
Problem solvers must therefore abandon the Sisyphean task of trying to strengthen the two lower loops, (see below) and change to strategies centering on how to weaken the upper loop.
This shows that problem solvers have spent the last 30 years trying to solve the wrong problem, which is a striking conclusion that should send shockwaves throughout all of environmentalism. Problem solvers must therefore abandon the Sisyphean task of trying to strengthen the two lower loops, and change to strategies centering on how to weaken the upper loop.
If you have encountered resistance to your proposed solutions, then you have run smack into the Forces Resisting Change loop. Better is to spend your time understanding the two systemic root causes shown, and direct your solution strategies there. This paper seeks to help solve the global environmental sustainability problem by approaching it from a novel and possibly more effective perspective. The science of environmental sustainability is undergoing a profound paradigm shift in its problem solving process.
The voices of Lewin, Senge, Sterman and many more tell us that change resistance is that missing abstraction. Change resistance is the tendency for a system to continue its current behavior, despite the application of force to change that behavior. Lewin had been working on this idea, that the status quo represented an equilibrium between the barriers to change and the forces favoring change, since 1928 as part of his field theory. We hypothesize that one way to do this is to decompose difficult social problems into two sequential subproblems: (1) How to overcome change resistance and then (2) How to achieve proper coupling. In difficult social problems the system spends a long time trying to overcome change resistance. You will see powerful techniques used in this analysis that are missing from what mainstream environmentalism has tried. Popular solutions are superficial because they fail to see into the fundamental layer, where the complete causal chain runs to root causes. In the analytical approach, root cause analysis penetrates the fundamental layer to find the well hidden red arrow.
Change resistance is the tendency for a system to resist change even when a surprisingly large amount of force is applied. Overcoming change resistance is the crux of the problem, because if the system is resisting change then none of the other subproblems are solvable. The root cause of successful change resistance appears to be effective deception in the political powerplace. The high leverage point for resolving the root cause is to raise general ability to detect political deception. Life form improper coupling occurs when two social life forms are not working together in harmony. In the sustainability problem, large for-profit corporations are not cooperating smoothly with people. The world’s solution model for solving important problems like sustainability, recurring wars, recurring recessions, excessive economic inequality, and institutional poverty has drifted so far it’s unable to solve the problem.
In the environmental proper coupling subproblem the world’s economic system is improperly coupled to the environment.
The root cause appears to be high transaction costs for managing common property (like the air we breath). The high leverage point for resolving the root cause is to allow new types of social agents (such as new types of corporations) to appear, in order to radically lower transaction costs. Given the principle that all problems arise from their root causes, the reason popular solutions are not working (after over 40 years of millions of people trying) is popular solutions do not resolve root causes. Click on the table for a high level discussion of the solution elements and to learn how you can hit the bullseye. The solutions you are about to see differ radically from popular solutions, because each resolves a specific root cause for a single subproblem. The high leverage point for overcoming change resistance is to raise general ability to detect political deception.
In this subproblem the analysis found that two social life forms, large for-profit corporations and people, have conflicting goals. What’s drifted too far is the decision making model that governments use to decide what to do. The high leverage point is to greatly improve the maturity of the political decision making process. The solution works like this: Imagine what it would be like if politicians were rated on the quality of their decisions. This analyzes the world’s standard political system and explains why it’s operating for the benefit of special interests instead of the common good.
This can be done by switching to Root Cause Analysis, which will lead to Environmentalism 2.0. It’s against human nature to react favorably to change because it takes people out of their comfort zone. When change initiatives fail, the culprit is often a lack of good communication from management. In designing the communication phase, you are beginning to prepare your organization for the transformation from current state, or practice, to the future state.
Why is my company changing the way it’s always done business, and why is the change necessary? The analytical and technical thinkers of our business need to understand how we plan to get from Point A to Point B so they can connect the dots in their mind’s perception of business as they know it today.
Many members of your organization are innovative and eager to contribute their insights and suggestions for improvement.  These individuals are the free thinkers, the movers and shakers, and typically the resources we know we can routinely call upon to get things done. Our initial communications must provide a mechanism to uncover potential paths of resistance to change.
This is the age-old question, and one of the most important messages required to gain the desire within your organization to do something different. Communication is paramount when trying to raise the level of understanding in your organization. Finally, remember that these formal steps do not replace, not should they, the day to day involvement in senior and middle management continuing to deliver the change messages on a regular basis in their informal, personal communications. Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. Coch and French (1948) started the management perspective when they published an article called Overcoming Resistance to Change.  While their study was great for its time, Coch was the personnel director (HR) for the Harwood manufacturing plant where the study was conducted.  French was the former personnel director! While their conclusions are not inaccurate, they are incomplete … they only account for a piece of the resistance to change puzzle. In 1950, Zander, who was a close colleague of Kurt Lewin and leaned heavily on his work, offered six primary reasons for resistance to surface. If the nature of the change is not made clear to the people who are going to be influenced by the change. If the people influenced by the change have pressure put on them to make it instead of having a say in the nature or the direction of the change. If the change ignores the already established institutions in the group (cited in Dent & Goldberg, 1999, p.
In the end, both sides have validity to their arguments.  They just need to realize that their perspective is just another perspective, not some natural law of humanity. Expecting resistance to change and planning for it from the start of your change management progamme will allow you to effectively manage objections. At the end of the day all sources of resistance to change need to be acknowledged and people’s emotions validated. It’s far better to anticipate objections than to spend your time putting out fires, and knowing how to overcome resistance to change is a vital part of any change management plan. Fear of the unknown — One of the most common reasons for resistance is fear of the unknown. Not being consulted — If people are allowed to be part of the change there is less resistance. Changes to routines — When we talk about comfort zones we’re really referring to routines. Change in the status quo — Resistance can also stem from perceptions of the change that people hold. Change in my experience is one of those areas that seems simple in theory but tough in practice. In my experience, here are the top 5 enablers or assets that assist change, followed by the top 5 obstacles to change.
1)Your organization and you are experiencing a crisis, perhaps one that threatens your existence and, like a tsunami coming ashore, relentlessly drives you before it.
3)Leadership that shows the way forward, and channels peoples’ fears and panic, hopes, dreams of survival and better days, and energies. 1)A comfort level or even fixation with the way things are, remarkably, no matter how miserable or painful. 5)The belief that failure is a perfectly acceptable option, and maybe even the preferred solution. If we know how to engage the workforce we will do so and experience the amazing experience of working with the workforce instead of against them.
If we don’t know what to do to allow the workforce to engage we will continue to look in lists like this for the things that we can do to them to prevent them from resisting what someone else wants to do to them.
What we can do is to create the environment that will allow people to engage, then they will choose to engage, we can’t make them.

If we know how to engage the workforce we will do so and experience the amazing feeling of working with the workforce instead of against them.
If we don’t know what to do to allow the workforce to engage we will continue to look for lists like this for the things that we can do to prevent them from resisting what someone else wants to do to them, change. What we can do is to create the environment that will allow them to engage, then they will choose to engage for themselves, we can’t make them engage. There is one more source of resistance, though maybe something on this list is meant to cover it.
The gross presumption of the writer and management attendees of the article is not surprising considering the degree of dysfunctionality of the worldview presented. I agree whole heartily with Duncan Brodie, I have implemented changed from the heart, but first It all starts in there minds.
Each of us works through our environment and our brain dendrites has information to register, these are called concepts. They also have claim on west Germany as well as England (note how GB has not fully joined) They knew that Hitler was endeavouring to get control of Europe. With Germany influence they encouraged the European Union to come to gather on a means to get central control.
To bring about change it is best to be well taught out and start with the baby children at school, the way they always done it having the parents reading the babies books stories with political influence. I have read this blog a number of times and every time I do I become more convinced that its not resistance to change is the problem but a failure to gain the buy-in or commitment of the people impacted by the change.
And the different paradigm is that the change instigator has to accept that they don’t have the answers to how the change should play out.
So they will need to ask people to engage, rather than tell them and expect them to follow. The key to understanding this problem is to realise that people don’t resist change; they resist ‘BEING CHANGED’. The survival of your organisation and the job security of your people depend upon you improving these values faster than any existing or future competitor.
First priority are the must do’s of being transparant, honoust and to emphasize with normal human response.
A lot of companies who try to change things didn’t inform the staff in time about culminating issues and challenges and didn’t involve employers to create clever solutions!
Then I am sure you will find enough desire in your people to create the neccessary change, and more, much more good things for the future! Sorry, typo in paragraph 3, I mean employees where it did write employers, so please understand it’s about your employees!
I agree that organizational change management is the best way to deal with change effectively.
The classic reactions to change show us that it is not an easy task as it involves emotions such as anger, denial, confusion and depression.
The first and most important reason for resistance to change as mentioned is misunderstanding the need for change. As you mentioned, it is better to anticipate objections rather than put out fires because if rumors spread it would be difficult to contain the situation.
Low trust is also a problem, and this is when the management is not clear about the reasons for change.
As business leaders, it is not uncommon for you to have a vision of what improvements you wish to make in your business. Resistance is one of the main factors that prevent organisational change, so it is important to recognize it and develop strategies for managing resistance effectively. Real Change happens when there is a sense of Dissatisfaction with how things are as on date. Shweta Jhajharia is partner and principal coach in Europe’s largest Business Coaching firm in ActionCOACH. This entry was posted in Leadership and tagged change, company vision, dissatisfaction, leadership.
And, make no mistake, change may be imposed by management, but often both managers and staff feel a resistance to change. Consequently, they all dig their heels in and the process of change becomes a tough one. I have mentioned both managers and employees because any organizational change affects both parties. A few years ago, during my university studies, I have written a literature review about resistance to organizational change. To continue on this note: resistance is not always aimed at the plan itself, but often against its effects. The ideas about and ways of dealing with change can be quite different for managers and employees. To stay with the example of the introduction of social media, how can one put these ideas about resistance into practice? The consequences of creating accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and what have you: Who will be tracking and monitoring all those accounts?
How about letting not only the communications department talk about the company on social media, but making sure all employees are aware of their role as online ambassadors of the company? Of course, there are many and many more tips of experts on dealing with social media for companies. So perhaps now, dear manager or employee, you understand that it is important for resistance arguments to be heard!
I started blogging mainly because of my interest in organizational cultures and (online) communications.
Decomposing the problem into two sequential subproblems, (1) How to overcome change resistance and (2) How to achieve proper coupling, opens up a fresh line of attack.
If change resistance is high this adaptation response either prevents proper coupling from ever being achieved or delays it for a long time.
You can see why the environmental movement has failed to solve the overall environmental sustainability problem. Now that you can see the loop, you are no longer limited to solutions based on proper practices like renewable energy, recycling, and corporate social responsibility appeals.
Due to inability to solve its central problems, the field finds itself struggling to replace its defective old paradigm (its old process) with a new one that works. First, the new candidate must seem to resolve some outstanding and generally recognized problem that can be met in no other way.
He suggested that if you’ve looked at a problem from all angles and are still stumped, then you probably have a missing abstraction. In fact, regardless of whether change resistance is high or low, it is impossible to solve the proper coupling part of a social problem without first solving the change resistance part.
Popular approaches to solving the sustainability problem see only what's obvious: the black arrows. It's an easy trap to fall into because it intuitively seems that popular solutions like renewable energy and strong regulations should solve the sustainability problem. But doing it on paper, decomposing the problem into nine cases of 2 times 2 and then adding up the results, changes the problem from insolvable to solvable.
Too many voters and politicians are being deceived into thinking sustainability is a low priority and need not be solved now. We need to inoculate people against deceptive false memes because once people are infected by falsehoods, it’s very hard to change their minds to see the truth.
Instead, too many corporations are dominating political decision making to their own advantage, as shown by their strenuous opposition to solving the environmental sustainability problem.
The goal of the corporate life form is maximization of profits, while the goal of the human life form is optimization of quality of life, for those living and their descendents. If the root cause is corporations have the wrong goal, then the high leverage point is to reengineer the modern corporation to have the right goal.
Various steps in the decision making process are not working properly, resulting in inability to proactively solve many difficult problems.
The high leverage point for resolving the root cause is to raise the maturity of the political decision making process. Environmental impact from economic system growth has exceeded the capacity of the environment to recycle that impact.
This means that presently there is no way to manage common property efficiently enough to do it sustainably. The right subproblems were found earlier in the analysis step, which decomposed the one big Gordian Knot of a problem into The Four Subproblems of the Sustainability Problem. We have to somehow make people truth literate so they can’t be fooled so easily by deceptive politicians. Overcoming change resistance is the crux of the problem and must be solved first, so it takes nine solution elements to solve this subproblem.
They would start competing to see who could improve quality of life and the common good the most. The high leverage point is allow new types of social agents to appear to radically reduce the cost of managing the sustainability problem. Each steward would have the goal of sustainably managing some portion of the sustainability problem. At this time, business leaders need to prepare the messages that define the organization’s written principles and values.
This is our first opportunity to recognize these individuals in order to begin assembling the change team.
Unlike the practice of passing on information, good communication is two-way communication.
At all levels of the organization, the employee’s direct supervisor has the most influence over what people hear and respond to.
Structure it so that you can capture how your message was received emotionally as well as how well its content was understood.
The key to communicating is to use multiple platforms or media to communicate the same message. Understanding the most common reasons people object to change gives you the opportunity to plan your change strategy to address these factors.
Expecting that there will be resistance to change and being prepared to manage it is a proactive step. Especially from those who strongly believe the current way of doing things works well…and has done for twenty years! People who are overwhelmed by continuous change resign themselves to it and go along with the flow. For example, people who feel they’ll be worse off at the end of the change are unlikely to give it their full support. Awareness of these reasons why people resist change can go a long way towards overcoming that resistance. Too many people assume that because the business case and rationale stacks up people will change. Change is hard for many people and requires repeated reassurance, very clear communication for both management and staff as well as a great deal of patience in order to achieve long-lasting results. If the cause for change comes from management itself, that management itself operates from fallacious principles, then resistance is necessary.
When people have experienced that change causes problems and offers no improvement on their situation (but is done for the sake of change and the managers bonus) it is common sense to resist change.

I really enjoyed this tips and it has really exposed me to some things like the self – esteem (the denial, anger, confusion, depression, Crisis, new confidence, and acceptance.
Taking the view that they are not the problem its ua who need to change the way we manage change can establish a very different dynamic. If the only psychological manifestation is -by definition – an ego defense, a problem arises. We explain the above to delegates, and while they don’t always believe me, when I ask them would you like to, the answer is always ‘Yes’. Keeping adults out of important facts is treating them like they are little children who lack the brain capacity and skills to come up with good ideas and suggestions. That’s the first big change to make and I am sure nobody of the staff will resent it.
What’s the solution if the whole business agree change is necessary and are on board and then face opposition from the instigators of these changes in the first place? It is an executive or management function and it aims to reduce resistance and teach people how to accept change and embrace innovation. Not only will rumor spread, but this may lead to fears such as job loss or other challenges that may result in the resignation of some staff members.
The problem is that just communicating this vision (or goal or strategic growth plan) is not enough to bring about change.
There has to be a realization that something is not right or not optimized and hence the dissatisfaction. To overcome this hurdle, as a leader you must have a clear Vision of where you want to go from where you stand today. Just think of what the Web and social media already have changed over the last (few) year(s). Sometimes it’s just for nagging, as the fear of the unknown must of course be expressed, but resistance is there too because people see something announced that they have experienced or know of that is wrong or not possible. Sometimes it is better to keep things as they are (ok, perhaps not with the example of social media!). This doesn’t say anything about the quality of the change: Who knows what fears and ideas have been left unspoken? What about making sure the call center and the webcare team can communicate among themselves (for when customers go online to complain and call the call center at the same time)?
Is there anything the company can learn from them, such as mistakes that can be prevented, the competitors’ strategies and other social human insights? Over the years it has become my passion to help professionals and entrepreneurs build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives.
From this we conclude that systemic change resistance is the crux of the problem and must be solved first. The doctor and patient both know that if it’s a serious illness, then they absolutely must get the diagnosis right or the treatment will fail. Today's environmentalists are using a problem solving process that can be called Classic Activism. By cleaving one big problem into two, the problem becomes an order of magnitude easier to solve, because we can approach the two subproblems differently and much more appropriately. This pattern has occurred in countless historic social problems whose solution benefits the common good, like universal suffrage, slavery, racial discrimination, the dangers of smoking tobacco, the rule of colonies by other countries, the recurring war in Europe problem (solved by creating the European Union, which properly coupled member nations together to reduce pressures for future wars), and the non-benevolent ruler problem (solved by invention of democracy, which properly coupled the people and their rulers via the voter feedback loop).
Fish and Wildlife and Philip Bangerter of Hatch for help in creating this one page process oriented outline PDF . This leads to using superficial solutions to push on low leverage points to resolve intermediate causes.
Fundamental solution elements are then developed to create the green arrow which solves the problem. Subproblems like these are several orders of magnitude easier to solve because you are no longer trying (in vain) to solve them simultaneously without realizing it.
Once the analysis builds a model of the problem and finds the root causes and their high leverage points, solutions are developed to push on the leverage points.
Since the one causing the problem right now is Corporatis profitis, this means we have to reengineer the modern corporation to have the right goal. Like the way corporations charge prices for their goods and services, stewards would charge fees for ecosystem service use. Thus the glossary is really The Problem Solver's Guide to Difficult Social System Problems, using the sustainability problem as a running example. In doing so, leaders will begin to set the stage for behavioral and performance expectations.
As we make others aware of our strategy and need for change, we must also elicit feedback to better understand how our message was received.
When communicating role changes, changes to systems or tools that the employee uses day to day, or even communicating changes to pay, benefits or time off, direct supervisors are the most effective as a result of their relationship with the individual. Make sure to get the reactions of some employees you suspect will be among the hardest to win over. If audit results are not acceptable, you may want to conduct another wave of communications.
And you will probably have to communicate the same message three to six times, before the message is heard and understood. Recognizing behaviors that indicate possible resistance will raise awareness of the need to address the concerns. Everyone goes quiet; people look around or at each other, and wonder “What was that?” They are alert and prepared to meet the danger. Seeking input, communicating plans, and listening to concerns go a long way towards resolving many of these obstacles to successful change implementation.
If a workforce is subject to abrasive, belligerent, and threatening management then common morality and ethics mandates resistance. Communicating effectively with people, building trust, selling the benefits, and making the change as easy as possible for them, are so important.
How often do we see engagement in the form of more one way communications, more spin and more trashing of the past. Groups have no egos, certainly not aggregately subjected to complex dynamic of ego in the same way at the same time. How different form Ricardo Semler’s very succesful Semco Sa organisation in which he shares the financial reports to every single staffmember and even provides training in how to read those reports.
When tough issues demand very good decisions it’s very helpful to involve represents of all layers in the organisation and challenge them to think with their colleagues about clever and creative solutions and best choices. All of us, everyone who is one this forum has resisted change ans still resist change in some for or other.
Even within companies people have gotten used to the fact that at every turn something will change, and that this often involves resistance too. Overcoming resistance to organizational change, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 97 (10, suppl. Rethinking resistance and recognizing ambivalence: a multidimensional view of attitudes toward an organizational change, Academy of Management Review, 25 (4), pp. This has no concept of root causes and avoids deep analysis, so classic activists can see only what's below the dotted line.
As Kotter found, it is possible for the resistance to be sited within the individual, but it is much more likely to be found elsewhere in the system.
We are no longer unknowingly attempting to solve two very different problems simultaneously.
An even bigger thanks to Steve Wehrenberg for looking over an early draft and commenting it needed a model. This strategy has changed millions of other problems from insolvable to solvable, so it should work here too.
Such resistance can often sabotage the best efforts of management to drive change throughout the organization.
The hypocracy of modern American business is that while persons in management conduct their own lives under common conventions of social contract and morality, they demand to be excused from the same conventions in the business place — they insist on treating subordinates in any manner they please for the good of profits, stockholders, or the mere ego of the CEO.
One organisation that carries its pride in the past and moves on is the military with medals, banners etc. One was the idea of collaborative (if not coordinated) collective opposition to something, usually suggesting illicit basis, e.g.
They also choose their own managers and evaluate them publicly.They increase result improvements of at least 20% every year. It is often true that we people who advocate change for others forget to apply the same principles in our lives. It even happens when managers are diligent communicators and active in the communication process. Moreover, the perspective of the writer assumes that might is right, that authority bears no responsibility in its actions…as long as the flow of authority is maintained. Bridges Transition Model offers a very useful approach of acknowledging the past before moving on. In fact talking about issues of change becomes an escape for us to making that change in us.
Here comes the role of change management as it strives to reduce that uncertainty and reassure staff and faculty members.
Furthermore, is resistance always detrimental to the planned change and a problem which continues to simmer?
Some year ago when I used to work with an organization some of my colleagues used to complain that nothing is going to happen here.
The biggest surprise was, for me, to discover theories that describe resistance as a very useful element of the change process. And further thanks to Philip for going over every line twice as we worked on the second submission version, which was accepted.
Its new role will be that of a trusted servant whose goal is providing the goods and services needed to optimize quality of life for people in a sustainable manner. Without ethics and morality in business, the pursuit of profit becomes a workplace nightmare. With millions upon millions of Americans unemployed by no fault of their own, the premise of this article is beyond preposterous.
Notably, George Vaillant, Harvard psychiatrist and one-time head of a longitudinal study of what distinguishes men’s levels and natures of success or failure over decades.
The sample was small because the study was begun prior to WWII so they stopped adding new subjects by 1943. Some are very common, and many are used to maintain mental health at times throughout one’s lifetime. For example, fantasy is a common and healthy defense mechanism for children who really experience senses of threat from angry or critical parents, teachers, etc., let alone actual physical harm who have no way of avoiding or fighting back. If it is a key adaptation for people over 30 it perpetuates avoiding dealing with issues problems (internal and external) in a way that is less healthy.

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