As a change agent, you need to be able to empathize with perspectives.
You also need to take time to listen, respond well and sometimes read between the lines. But it’s no secret that resistance and obstacles crop up during change efforts. How do you address these obstacles and move your change effort forward while also setting your targets at ease?
The first step is anticipating the obstacles you can encounter. Here are seven of the most common obstacles, along with strategies to overcome them:
|1 – Targets fear not knowing how to do new things||Acknowledge that fear is a legitimate reaction, and assure the targets that they will be given any training they need to enable them to perform well in the desired state.|
|2 – Targets think first about what they might have to give up, not what they might gain||Begin by acknowledging the value the old order provided in the past. Then explain why it’s important to respond to changing conditions to keep the organization strong.|
|3 – They feel isolated, even if everyone else is going through the same change||Structure group activities around the change to cement cooperation and a sense of shared purpose.|
|4 – They tune out because they have been bombarded with changes||Concentrate on landmark stages rather than giving the impression that the change is a continuous state of upheaval. Go through the timeline for change, emphasizing key dates and deadlines.|
|5 – They absorb information at different rates, so they are at different levels of readiness for change||Talk targets through all the stages of the change, encouraging them to focus on anticipated situations. Try to establish specific concerns they may have and address them patiently and constructively.|
|6 – They say they don’t have enough resources||Start this stage of change without extra resources, but be prepared to allocate them if necessary.|
|7 – They return to doing things the old way as soon as you take the pressure off them||Work to weave the new order inextricably into the organization’s culture.|