Change, Even Positive Change, is Hard (Part 1)

Change, Even Positive Change, is Hard (Part 1)

There are different levels of change. There is the micro level (I must change.) There is the organizational level (we must change.) And there is the macro level (everyone must change).

You have almost total control over your personal life, yet think how difficult it is to change a habit, to eat better, to exercise more, or to be kinder.

At the other end of the spectrum, macro change is external. Global warming, for example, mandates change for all of us.

In between the micro and the macro rests organizational change. Regardless of size, organizations, like people, resist change for a variety of reasons.

First of all, organizations are composed of individuals with their own beliefs and needs. In addition, each organization has a corporate culture that is roughly analogous to individual personality.

Many people see change as a loss of control or as a disruption in established expectations. They may view the change as a brief irritation, or they see it as victimization or unempowerment.

So if you are part of a team trying to bring about change in your organization, how can you prevent failure. The following 6 tips may help:

1. Bring recipients of change into the planning process and bring them in early. People resist change they don’t understand and change that is foisted on them.

2. Recognize that resistance to change is normal. In fact, expect it. You are asking people to change something in their work lives or change how they do their jobs.

3. Listen to resisters’ feedback and be flexible. Don’t underestimate the power of organizational culture to stop change.

4. All things being equal, change as little as possible. Start small. Plan your timing carefully.

5. Work with formal and informal networks. Understand who has the power in both networks.

6. Find change sponsors within the organization and be certain you communicate openly and regularly with all constituents.

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