Monday, September 30, 2019

Resistance to change

Why does the management want us to implement those new standard operating procedures? Aren't our current procedures okay? Is there really a need to carry out the changes recommended by our consultants or senior management? It's so troublesome, why can't we just do it the way that we've always been doing it? Have you ever overheard such conversations in your office pantry or one of your Whatsapp group chat?

These are early signs of resistance to change in your organization, in your department, or in your team. Resistance is a natural reaction when team members are asked to change (I'll call "to improve"). For that matter, most of us feel uneasy and even threatened when asked to make changes. We're by nature creatures of habit and simply hate to step out of our comfort zones. Change is uncomfortable and most people are reluctant to embrace it, regardless of the environment.

A call to change also doesn't mean the boss specifically tell you so. He could be giving criticism. He could be giving you a cold shoulder. That is his sign for a request for you to improve, to buck up. 

Making a change requires a leap of faith: it's moving in the direction of the unknown (to you at least). Taking that leap of faith is risky, and people usually will take active steps of faith toward the unknown only if they truly believe - and more importantly, feel - that the risk of standing still is greater than the risks of moving in a new direction. Don't be a sitting duck, they said.

Change requires new ways of thinking and doing things. People generally have trouble developing a vision of what life will be like on the other side of a change, as they've not been there before. So naturally, they tend to cling to the known rather than embrace the unknown. 

Certain people resist change because they fear they lack the competence or confidence or knowledge to change.

There is also a fear many of us will seldom admit. But sometimes, certain changes introduced by organizations necessitate changes in skills and knowledge (and sometimes attitude), and some people will feel that they won't be able to make the transition very well. They don't think they can do it individually or collectively. However, in the corporate world, to survive the organization must be ready to execute changes in order to stay ahead of the competition. The user of Information Technology including the consumers (that is the general public) are also not spared, they are forced to adapt and change their lifestyle due to advancement of technology. Those advancements introduced innovation and a new way of doing things. We as the consumer has no choice but to change as well.

In today's fast-paced workplace, it's quite common for team members to feel overloaded and overwhelmed, thus resistant to change. They may prefer the status quo. There is also a sign that the younger generation of the workforce would prefer to do their thing their own way. Subtlely they are expecting the organization to do things their ways.

Resistance to change can take many forms and good managers must develop the knack of identifying signs of resistance fairly early into any change, and take appropriate corrective actions.

Signs of resistance to change:
- Complaining, directly or indirectly. Complaining is contagious and can often be disruptive and counter-productive.
- Defiance. They'll ignore it, they'll say it detrimental to their work. For example, a company may implement different procedures or changes in work methods but those who are most resistant may continue operating the same way. Old habit dies hard.
- Missing meetings.
- Missing deadlines. Certain employees may use the change as an excuse to miss deadlines in their assigned task. This happens in Pasti Nyala too.
- Excuses. Instead of a new way of doing thing, employees give excuses like "it's not working", "I forgot", "customer says so" and reverting to the old way of doing things.
- Tardiness. Frequent leave, time-off, absenteeism, and lateness. A simple sign of employee not willing to comply with a new change in working hours, for example.

For Pasti Nyala members,
- Have the Courage to act (change).
10 Things that require ZERO talent
- Creating Innovative Solution to a Problem

For the Pasti Nyala TPU, please read How to deal with Resistance to Change. A quick summary to deal with resistance:
- close supervision, i.e getting the people involved in the change to participate in making it.
- understand the true nature of resistance.
- improve attitudes.
- emphasizing new standards of performance.
- encouraging them to think in different ways.

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