Why change inititatives fail: it’s not me, it’s you … except when it’s not


By Beth Schaefer
Director, Institute for Professional Development

[su_dropcap]A[/su_dropcap]s leaders, we blame resisters when change initiatives are not embraced.

Our reasoning:

  • People are scared
  • People are lazy
  • People are set in their ways-they do not want to experience discomfort

Yet, have YOU ever been critical of a proposed change? Do YOU consider yourself lazy or afraid of the future? By admitting that other reasons for change resistance exist, you can more effectively lead people through the change phases.

Often these are the real reasons people resist change:

  1. People are unaware that there is a business need for the change.
    Take time to get buy-in. Make sure people know the “why” not just the “what” and “how.”
  2. There is too much change: people really do have a limit of how much change they can deal with at one time.
    Check the culture and be aware of other big initiatives. Timing matters.
  3. Bad communication: people just do not know what is going on.
    Change can bring new procedures, new reporting structures, and/or new employees.
    Make sure communication is clear and people know what to expect.
  4. Been there … Done that. Believe it or not, most people have a history being a part of a change initiative that they worked really hard on, but was never followed through to implementation. Too many bad experiences leave people leery that this next new big thing will not even be around long enough to worry about.
    Be patient and communicate what is being done differently this time to ensure success.
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