In the first two posts in our series on managing change, we uncovered why a majority of initiatives fail, and why organizing an aligned coalition of leaders is the first step in achieving success. Furthermore, these change masters must design and implement a plan to guide their efforts, which must also incorporate their concerns and inputs.
With an implantation plan designed and deployed, teams can address the origins behind “resistance to change,” which is cited as the leading factor for why the process of managing change is often unsuccessful.
Passive and Active Resistance
First, we must understand that there are two different types of resistance to change: active and passive.
To quote a senior vice president who worked with Insigniam to manage change around a supply chain in his enterprise, “Passive resistance is harder to confront than active resistance. Lip service — where people say they’ll do [a task] because the boss is keen [is something we’ve been] bitten by a few times.”
So how do you address both types — people who drag their feet in protest and others who will nod their heads in agreement, yet lack accountability? Two variables must be increased: Communication and enrollment.
Communication and Enrollment
In the case of a food service company that engaged Insigniam to centralize and streamline processes to improve productivity, the change management coalition clearly communicated what was required of every person associated with the undertaking, which caused a culture shift. Employees moved away from “waiting to be told what to do,” and actively took ownership of the objectives for which they were accountable.
However, clearly stating the plan, desired outcome, and levels of accountability were only a few pieces of the puzzle. Actually getting employees invested in the project — by way of enrolling them by working on the initiative first hand — meant that employees within the food service company had the opportunity to commit to the new organization’s vision and strategy. This process executed the necessary behavioral changes to gain complete buy-in.
This shift leads to a breakthrough in thinking — at the employee level — which is another key element to facilitating and leading successful change. We’ll explore this topic further in our next post: Managing Change 101: Part IV — Breakthrough Thinking.