Are they just stuck in their ways? How to avoid common mistakes when managing change

Posted on 6th June 2018

No one can deny that the pace of change can often seem relentless and never ending. Businesses that cannot keep up fall behind, and many actually go out of business. There are many drivers for change and various factors involved. But as with so many things in business, if you have a workforce that is open to change and willing to adapt it will be so much easier.

Despite what people may say, most people are willing to change. They even embrace change it if it is managed well. Sadly though, it is often not the case that change is managed well. This is when the issues start, change takes much longer than it should and does not reap the benefits it was intended to create.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) list change management as one of the top six causes of stress and stress-related illness in the workplace. The wording here is subtle but important – change management, not the change itself.

Resistance to change can result from many things; a lack of trust, lack of information, or perceived threats to competence or status. If someone has done a job for a while they may feel lost being asked to do something different. They may even feel uncomfortable admitting they need extra help or training to achieve the goal. Some other reasons can include habit, fear of loss of freedom, and fear of the unknown.


Thought and planning

If you know your team, with some thought and planning you can try and anticipate how each person will react. This allows you to manage the change accordingly to overcome these barriers. As with so many people management issues, what you need is to plan, to know your team and to communicate.

Over the years, as a team we have worked in many businesses that are going through changes; both minor and very major. It is rare that the any issues are caused by the actual change itself being wrong. It’s because often things are rushed and poorly managed and that’s where the issues come from.

As a trainer I really enjoy working with managers to help them understand all the drivers behind the resistance and help them to better manage change and get better results for all concerned. We focus very much around the change curve, the skills needed to help employees through this curve, and on to high performance. If this is something you would like in your business then have a look at our course outline and give us a call to discuss your needs.

Emma Wynne Character
Written by:
Emma Wynne
Managing Director