Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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  1. It is important to expect change. It is inevitable anyway. So expect it and prepare for it instead of resisting it.

  2. The only constant is change? 😉

  3. The two methods of overcoming resistance to change that stick out to me as the most important in this piece are WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) and security. WIIFM answers WHY should I agree to this? and security answers HOW safe is my job once we implement this change? These two methods create the buy-in from the team in order to implement change successfully. Answering WIIFM can sometimes be hard question to answer if you are not in tune with what your team wishes would improve in the workplace. It is important that you have a repertoire with your teams so you can properly present the WIIFM. As a leader, you can always say this change is happening, but if you want it done right, you need your team on your side.

  4. It is important to reassure your employees that when change takes place that they are safe. It is also important to know that if the change does directly affect employees to let them know in well due time. A great owner would ensure that they will do everything possible to keep all personnel intact. If this isn’t possible, it would be courteous of the business owner to pay severance to the employees that will be directly affected by the change that is taking place. Not all change is good, however, I understand how change can potentially take the company to new heights at some point.

  5. This article provides a lot of information on ways to engage employees in regards to implementing change. Employee engagement is important and can boost morale. Being able to communicate “the big picture” and the projected outcome is key and having the skill to deliver the message in different ways, to different audiences, is a plus. As long as the message is consistent and has a foundation. Adding incentives, games and office wide announcements to acknowledge employees taking initiative is a good point. Another idea is hosting a retreat/meeting offsite which changes the regular work schedule and put employees in a different environment, which might change the way one processes/thinks.

  6. This is a great article talking about the possible ways to invoke change in many organizations. Creating fun and giving positive feedback is a great way of doing this. I have said this about change before, but in order for everyone to get on board with the change, they need to be comfortable with the environment they are in. When people are happy, they are going to give you their best work. This is why it is important for organizations to make sure they implement their new policies or technologies at the right time. This is mostly true when talking about older workers who have to try and adapt to new technologies. Having fun and giving your employees a little bit of time to adapt to the change is the best way to reach the overall population in my mind.

  7. This article provides excellent insight on different ways to engage employees when it comes to change. When organizations are undergoing a new change, employees often have their own thoughts and feelings about it. In order for the change to be successful, employees should be allowed to voice their thoughts and opinions with their leaders. This would help management get a scope on how the change may impact the company further. Some employees might have resistance to this change especially when it involves methods that they may not be used to. The best way to get everybody on board is to stay consistent and make sure to show appreciation for them. Team meetings are an excellent way to achieve this!

  8. Oftentimes when managers encounter resistance to change, it occurs because the employees do not see how the changes will benefit them. Managers may explain how the change will improve the company, but this article states that good managers should take the time to explain how the changes will benefit the individual employee. It is helpful to prepare specific examples of how the changes will positively affect not only the company, but each employee. Another great suggestion from this article is the idea of the “pride system” in which managers can reward their employees and create a positive work environment through positive recognition. This is important at every level of organizational change because once employees feel like they are doing a good job and feel recognized, they are more likely to accept the new changes.

  9. The techniques presented in this article are brief, simple and very tangible for every type and size of business.
    Creatures of habits creating a new one can be very challenging, especially if so many things are at stake (job, paycheck, position within the company). The techniques presented focus on the right side of the problem: not the on actual change, but on the people.
    A Change should be presented as a comfortable event, just like the comfortable event of no change feels like. With the techniques presented the change happens naturally and almost effortlessly, allowing the worker to feel “naturally” integrated in the process.
    By being guaranteed a net and a cushion of support (jobs are not at stake, positive support, rewards) the workers end up having fun with it and embrace and welcome the change.

  10. I agree with what the article says regarding how to deal with resistance to change. Many times, the root cause of resistance to change is people think their job is at risk. It is important to inform employees their status is still secure within the organization. Another important aspect is being able to articulate and show how the change will have a positive impact on the employees’ jobs. Also, being able to show how it can improve their moods will lead to less resistance to change. This is not saying resistance to change is bad, it is necessary but is something mangers should try to mitigate.

  11. For many employees, change can be both a daunting and scary prospect. If employees don’t feel included in or integral to the change taking place, it can be difficult if not impossible to receive buy-in from them. This article talks about showing employees the big picture, not just once but many times. I have been guilty of explaining the “big picture” to employees once and then assuming that idea sticks with them. As managers, it is important to check back in with employees to make sure everyone is still on the same page and clear up any misunderstandings or misconceptions that may have arisen in the interim.

  12. For many employees, change can be both a daunting and scary prospect. If employees don’t feel included in or integral to the change taking place, it can be difficult if not impossible to receive buy-in from them. This article talks about showing employees the big picture, not just once but many times. I have been guilty of explaining the “big picture” to employees once and then assuming that idea sticks with them. As managers, it is important to check back in with employees to make sure everyone is still on the same page and clear up any misunderstandings or misconceptions that may have arisen in the interim.

  13. A business cannot remain competitive if it never undergoes change. Therefore, change is inevitable, but the process does not have to be painful if managed correctly. Before implementing change, leaders should put themselves in the shoes of their employees. Leaders must be prepared to answer tough questions and have strategies in place for overcoming resistant behaviors. It is also important for leaders not to set unrealistic goals and timelines. Change does not occur overnight. Employees need time to buy into change for it to be successful. It is also important to keep employees informed throughout the change process. Furthermore, leaders must make their employees feel that they play a significant role in the success of the company. Leaders must create an environment that not only allows for the sharing of ideas, but one which employees are comfortable doing so.

  14. Santiago Alurralde

    I would expect to make such good hires that instead of waiting for the team to be on board for changes I want to make, the team should tell me what should be changed, and why. I think younger generations lead the way for changes and from what I have experienced from an employee standpoint, most of my colleagues have always had brilliant ideas that were worth listening to had I been the manager.
    In spite of this, employees need to have visibility and know the big picture, therefore communication should not halt for weeks and the team should be aware of what the organization is accomplishing and what would be useful towards maintaining its success in time. The cloud example provided by professor Yoest is a wonderful way to keep everyone up to date in a team that is geographically distributed and it helps to align everyone with potential changes.
    I’d also like to emphasize the importance of employee praise and rewards since it raises morale and people in a positive mindset who feel valued are prone to contribute to changes. Rewarding staff after every step taken towards change keeps the level engagement and even encourages new ideas to flourish and be discussed.

  15. This article should definitely be shared with all business owners because it includes suggestions you rarely see in other articles sharing insight on how to effectively bring about change. Outside of the importance of communication of the big picture, which is always heavily stressed, I think we often forget about the unspoken needs of employees in a workplace. By this I mean, the importance of affirmation, rewards, and making it mean something to each individual in their respective task. However, the biggest one I never considered was fear of losing employment. Even for myself who has not been too fond of change forgot that it was a thought in one position I had because usually when companies change (especially the big guys), it’s usually with the intention to downsize above the desire of efficiency. Now with this in mind, I think this accounts for people wanting to stick to the “old way of doing things” more than we attribute to it. However, regardless of the suggestions, it is important to note that the only way to get change to be universally excepted is to satisfy as many people as possible and to make it all seem worth it.

  16. This article is very relevant to the current state of change our country is facing. I think that initially there was some resistance to the quarantine regulations, with people still gathering and visiting places. Since the virus has gotten more serious and deathly, Americans have started to cooperate with the changes invoked. However, for businesses (and it is many of them) that had to temporarily close because of the virus spread, business management may not be able to guarantee job security too their workers. One of the lessons mentioned in this article is that businesses should communicate with their employees that their job is not at stake throughout a period of change. I think that is only true for smaller scale changes. This cannot be applied to large scale changes that require layoffs in order for the company to stay afloat. While I do agree with all of these lessons for companies to keep in mind when there is resistance to change, I think they need to be considered in the scope of the change.

  17. Michael A Harris

    Change is one of the few things in life that is inevitable, the same reigns true within any corporation. However, how an individual/corporation adapts to change is the differentiation. Considering the notion above that a team should be reassured that their jobs are not on the line, is not constant across industries. Industries such as sports and sales come to mind specifically. More times than not, when a new coach, GM or owner of a team comes aboard, they typically have a system in mind that they would like to implement. If an individual on any level does not fit their scheme, then a their job/role is on the line. Regarding sales, change in a targeted market or ways in which the sales team will maneuver can lead to an individual not being capable to perform at their once high-rate. Hence, their job could be on the line if they are not able to adapt to the change in an appropriate time.

  18. One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to define the future of an organization. In doing so, it is natural to face some form of resistance, especially if you are new to the organization.

    Often times, I have found that change leaders can lack a veil of transparency. I can only assume that it comes from a fear of overwhelming your workforce with too many details. For me, this circles back to the importance of concise and purposeful communication.

    In my experience, I have found it very useful to listen to the resistance to find a new approach within it. I was very new to an organization and was asked to create a new workflow process for my team. There were already pre-existing moral issues, in addition, my peers were exhausted by the organization hiring new managers that wanted to change aspects of the operation; They were used to the “old way,” and I was the designated bad guy.

    In the same breath, they would complain about the outdated technology which made certain aspects of the job tedious. Needless to say, the changes were desperately needed!

    When the time came for me to present the new workflow process to my peers and the leadership team, instead of focusing on how the new process would increase customer satisfaction and decrease the amount of formal complaints presented to leadership, I instead focused on how an increase in customer satisfaction would lead to an increase to the customer base and funding; An increase in funding would lead to an increase in wages and money to update technology, and that the only way to get there was through the new workflow process.

  19. Clear and empathetic communication is a must for a change manager who hopes to get anything done. What may seem very logical and straightforward to the manager may be met with great resistance by others. People resist change for various reasons. Generally, people tend to resist due to the content of the proposed change, the process through which the change is implemented, or the uncertainty that the change can bring. Therefore, it is vital as a change manager to address those aspects to convince as many affected parties as possible to get on board.

  20. Change can often lead to insecurities and be daunting to those involved. This article does a good job of outlining five strategies to tackle said change as the leader of an organization or team. A common thread throughout the author’s article is transparency among everyone. By sharing the “big picture” those involved can be reassured of what the organizations vision and goals are. This idea of reassurance is so important when dealing with large scale change. Whether it is consistent feedback, positive reinforcement, or assuring someone their job is not at stake ultimately plays as a safety net.

  21. This article was a great article it hit close to home with all of these points, the one that was dearer to me was that reassuring that jobs are not at stake. When I was working for Harris Teeter Distribution after I graduated and I was in between teams playing pro football Harris Teeter co. just sold the company to Kroger co. all of the employees including myself were scared that were going to be out of jobs, but right after the sale happened we had a meeting to tell us that we will still have jobs and no changes will happen. Well even now after leaving and coming to Catholic University, Harris teeter has held true to their word. That’s all that an employee cares about is that a company can hold their word and keep them protected from sudden changes like this.

  22. Changes are hard on the individual, even though we are constantly going through them. For businesses to evolve and remais competitive they must go through changes, but their effectiveness rely highly on the acceptance of the employees. The lessons presented here as ways to help staff cope with changes and get onboard are really interesting and spot on. In my opinion, transparency, honesty and openness are key for a smoother transition. Managers need to realize that employees are not lazy or negative, but instead are just uncertain of the benefits of the change and scared that such innovation might bring them more work or frustrations. Having them being a part of the change, listening to their opinions and taking their feelings and insights into consideration not only will bring them along, but also will guarantee a higher effectiveness of the change.

  23. These are great reminders. Helping staff to overcome their anxiety or apprehension surrounding change by having them act as a participant is so smart! I love the tip about celebrating milestones. It recognizes that change is not easy and that there might be several steps to reach the end goal but that the employees are appreciated for trying. I will try to implement these techniques in my own change management.

  24. This article provides solid advice for overcoming resistance to change/implementing change. “Explaining the big picture” (vision) addresses communication of the substance of the change with the goal of showing why the change is necessary. Effective communication is critical to the “collective sense-making” and employee involvement in that conversation reduces fear and builds trust. “Showing how the change helps team members in their daily work” helps address the WIIFM as well as making the change attractive. This is furthered by job security in” Reassure that Jobs are not at Stake”– communicating the change is not a threat is key to gaining a positive response from an employee. Finally, as change is (an often lengthy) process, introducing positive feedback and celebrating milestones further cements momentum, employee trust, and engagement. This article adeptly addresses the How and the Why, Getting the Word Out, Getting the Buy-in, and how to avoid common change management mistakes.

  25. Campbell points out the importance of making the transition of change smooth; mitigating the potential of resistance. When there is a sense of direction, understanding and security instilled in change, employees are more likely to buy-into the new system that is being implemented. The most important aspect, yet often underestimated, is to incorporate positive feedback and bring fun into change. It is already a challenge in itself to battle with the frustrations of change, let alone being in a boring and stale environment. If change can administer an aspect of pleasantness, employees will be apt to adjust to future alterations as the company molds itself according to trends.

  26. This article is an informative and important one. One thing that I personally have never thought about is making sure that people do not feel like their jobs are at stake in any point in time, especially during times of change. I think that it is equally important to remember to keep a fun environment where people feel that they can enjoy the work that they do. When having fun though, keeping it continually ingrained in employees minds of the big picture and purpose of what is taking place in the work environment is equally important. One question that I would pose, how do you invoke change without making it feel that there is no sense of the “reason” that someone joined an organization in the first place.

  27. This article provides a number of very good methods that any change leader “should” be using, not just when confronting change resistance but communicating change in general. The goal of every leader facilitating any type of change should be the target staff embracing it. Providing “open, clear and timely” communications (to the extent possible as the article points out) is key. I would add “consistency” to that list of key points because if a leader waivers in some way, it could seed doubt or undermine trust. I’m not referring to scope changes, data that drives another decision in another direction but more needing to communicate in a way that builds each message from the last. That is how a story is created; one of the best ways to communicate change.

    The main point I took away from this read was what to do about “reassure that jobs at not at stake”. This is valuable but it’s been my experience that this is something very hard to do. There are short term and long term impact from all change. I would more focus on helping staff see where they “fit” into the change. People want to have meaningful roles, want to contribute in valuable ways. When a staff member can’t see their role, they resist, fight to hold on and distrust. Someone who is leading change wants advocates not change disrupters.

  28. This article starts by acknowledging a key premise – change makes people nervous. This is undoubtedly true – because change means uncertainty, the unknown, and that induces fear. We prefer to have things settled and secure. The methods the article explains are great ways to stop this fear in its tracks – communicate clearly what is happening so that people get more information about the change, the whole plan – the more they know the less there is to fear; show them how it will be good for them personally – so there’s no uncertainty there; reassure them that the change will not make their job any less secure – so they don’t have to worry about that either, and finally introduce positivity through feedback and fun to combat any sense of anxiety by replacing it with hope and enthusiasm.

  29. Communicating effectively within an organization when addressing and implementing change is necessary for expanding the vision. As always, an effective and well thought out plan is best in transitioning to avoid failure and the inability to control change. There will always be challenges for management when the accountability for a successful transition is their responsibility. Inspiring management to fully understand how to effectively express genuineness will help the employees to feel purposeful and motivated. As a result, it will increase an independent mindset and encourage employees to think for themselves.

  30. This article points out several ways to implement change that will put your employees at ease. When thinking about change, one of the scariest things is the unknown. It’s comparable to most of our fears. If we have a fear it’s most likely because of the unknown, i.e. you may be scared to sky dive because you don’t truly know what will happen. It’s a calculated risk, much like a change within an organization. This also reminds me of the text, The Memo, by John Yoest, when decisions are being made it is nearly impossible to have 100% of the information available. Most decisions are made when there is a range of 40-70% of available information. Keeping an open dialogue with employees and telling them the big picture or goal can set the tone for the change. Implementing fun along the way never hurt anyone either, who doesn’t like to have a good time?

  31. All five of the tips for overcoming change are very valuable for business leaders and should be taken into consideration when implementing organizational change. When enacting change to a strategy and/or business practices, it is important for the leader to anticipate roadblocks and resistance from team members. While it is important to incorporate all five tips into your changes in organizational strategy, the first one – explain the big picture – most resonated with me. Personally, transparency and sharing of the full vision is most valuable and can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, transparency helps employees to keep the end game in sight and better understand where the company is heading in the future.

  32. Through firsthand experience, the methods discussed in this article can definitely help in overcoming resistance to change. Explaining the big picture and keeping people informed will lessen the fear and anxiety that comes with change. The idea of keeping people on the same page can limit resistance and the assumptions that may arise from change. As stated in the article, the fear of losing a job may spark resistance to change as well. Change managers that can reassure employees that their jobs won’t be eliminated can help in reducing the resistance to change.
    All five methods in the article can help in overcoming resistance to change, however sometimes resistance may not always be bad. These methods may not only be used to overcome resistance, but can be used to shape resistance to produce more positive change.

  33. The ability to overcome change resistance is paramount to the success of the said change. These five lessons can go a great length in quelling resistance to change. One of the senior financial managers at my organization recently experienced change as her job function was being completely reworked. Through discussions with her manager, they spoke of the bigger picture, the intended outcome of this change, and reassured her that her job was not at risk. That reassurance gave her the comfort she needed to fully commit to the change and work with her manager while they created this new redefined role for her. As stated above, job security is the seventh most important factor for employee happiness so it was paramount that they conveyed that to her before moving forward with this change.

  34. This article gave us an abundance of valuable information, short, sweet and straight to the point. Over time and with the right opportunities change maybe of the essence. The five methods of change resistance will play a huge role in employees becoming receptive to change. Showing proof of burden by letting the staff witness first hand how the change will help their jobs run smoother with the new techniques to come. The most important method to employees is reassuring their jobs are not at stake will certainly give them a peace of mind and ease the resistance as they see change can be an awesome part of life and no need to be defensive. My favorite methods in the article is giving positive feedback to your employees and invoking fun. Recognizing your employees for a job well done and making their working environment fun will go a long way and keep the office morale sky high.

  35. This article provides extremely helpful information for managers who are trying to implement change in an efficient and effective way. How a manager communicates and delivers the reason for change, the affects on each individual’s position and workload, and the benefits of the change creates an environment where everyone thoroughly understands what is going on. Resistance to change is a natural reaction, so understanding human behavior and preparing for the resistance prior to communicating it with employees is essential. Reading this article and following the tips to overcome resistance to change would help with preparing for change.

  36. This article does a wonderful job with giving some possible solutions in helping alleviate some tension and stress within the workplace during change. I think that the biggest lesson from this is the importance of communication within the company. Helping relieve fear, incorporating fun, gaining the trust of your employees and many more instances start with the ability to communicate effectively. Another key is being transparent with your employees when discussing your vision. By giving as much information as possible, you are creating that trust between higher and lower levels, and allowing for more involvement.

  37. While I think all these points are important, the one I’d like to emphasize is feedback.
    I think praise and recognition are key, as they reinforce the strengths of the team and their positive behaviors.
    However, I think that the negative feedback is equally, or even more important. I believe that people have negative views about it, because most people do not know how to criticize constructively. In my opinion, when given correctly, negative feedback it can be even more helpful than positive feedback. When given correctly, we can identify our opportunities and help our teams become better. For negative feedback to be useful, it needs to start with us questioning and trying to understand the behaviors that we are planning to talk about. Like, why did you do that, what motivated you to act in that way. Then, it needs to be specific to the action, and explain why it is wrong and what could go better. After that, you can offer some advice on how to navigate the situation differently.

  38. Fun, fun, fun most people do not realize fun is not about having fun but the power to have choice in what we do. If we take that power of choice away and are being told what to do it is no longer fun. I believe the power choice is important when talking to your staff and to management. Giving somebody options limits what they might do but also empowers somebody to jum p on board with what you might be offering somebody to be part of something and it seems as though they had a say in the matter when they Cleary did not. Also, the power of choice can embolden someone to be better in thier chosen skill set.

  39. I really enjoyed reading this article and I think it explained in detail some of the key aspects to present and incentivize employees that would benefit management in the long run if they’re considering making a drastic change to the operation of the organization or company in any way. By creating a positive working environment, reassuring job security, and detailing how employees work life will improve and or change in any way can go a long ways towards incentivizing and motivating employees to stay engaged and reach their full working potential if they have goals and benchmarks that they’re attempting to reach. Ultimately keeping employees happy and motivated will lead to an efficient and successful workforce within the company.

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