It is human nature to resist what we see as different. Change requires that we work to learn a new set of rules, when the old rules may have suited us just fine. In reality, neither our personal nor professional lives will always be aligned with what we perceive to be comfortable. In other words, we are not the center of universe and the world does not revolve around our comfort levels. Circumstances outside of our control will occur that force us to adapt to new policies, new systems, and new sets of laws. In the very best situations our participation will be valued and our opinions will be thought giving us the opportunity to create the means that justify the end.
Individuals demonstrate their commitment to change through their deeds and actions. Strong managers solicit staff participation to build buy-in and to make sure that the affects of the proposed changes are vetted to avoid system breakdowns. Non-management employees can demonstrate their buy-in by educating themselves about the process, seeking ways to build consensus, giving and receiving feedback, and communicating their concerns to peers and management constructively.
Many theories attempt to explain why employees resist change even when it is obvious that change is necessary for an organization's survival. Resistance to change can be averted via:
Overlooking any one of the items above decreases the chance of successfully implementing a change program.
When change occurs, the relationship ("personal compact") between employers and employees suffer. This "personal compact" has three prongs – formal, social, and psychological.
Change destabilizes the foundation upon which the employee / employee relationship ("personal compact") is built. It is this uncomfortable shift in organizational dynamics (social, formal and psychological) that causes resistance to change, not simply the launch of new ideas or different ways of conducting business.
Once the change program is announced, many employees will employ tactics to protect themselves, their turf, and extremely their place in the organization.
Everyone who will be affected by the change process must participate in its implementation, which begins with soliciting ideas and input in the earliest planning stages.
Once identified, there are several strategies that can be used to overcome resistance to change within the organization. In order to maintain stability, all individuals must be treated with respect as they may have valuable knowledge to contribute and doing anything less may create even more resistance. At all stages of the change process, it is advised to seek areas for agreement. Later these commonalities can be leveraged to encourage the opposition to join the team. It is also important to acknowledge and fully understand the nature of the resistance. This feedback will form the basis for strategies to deal with that resistance. When the majority of the organization is on board it is certainly worthy to hear and address the concerns of a few holdouts, which perpetuates the goal of maximum buy-in. Finally, resistance can be made by making sure that the change effort is communicated effectively in a multi-dimensional format. Adult learning theory supports the need to propagate messages that are seen, heard, and felt. By seeking consensus, acknowledging feedback, and communicating effectively, organizations can meet resistance successfully. Neverheless, there will be individuals who can not function in a changed organization. These men and women will always feel that the relationship ("personal compact") with the employer has been broken.