Managing Resistance to Change in a Change Management Process: An Expert's Guide

Resistance to change is the reluctance to adapt to change when it occurs. Employees can openly express or cover up their unwillingness to adapt to organizational changes, ranging from expressing their resistance publicly to unknowingly resisting change through their language or general actions. To help professionals gain practical knowledge about change management, expert trainers provide training programs that focus on emotional reactions to change, such as the Kübler-Ross change curve or the Bridges transition model. This article will provide an expert's guide on how to manage resistance to change in a change management process.

The ADKAR model is a powerful diagnostic framework that change management teams and personnel managers can quickly and easily apply in formal evaluations or informal conversations. Incorporating change is a process that takes a long time, since companies must respond with care to the problems that this entails. We also identify specific risks by conducting risk assessments during Phase 1: Preparing the Approach. Resistance-prevention actions and activities are also included in phase 2, Managing Change, to help people in their transitions to ADKAR. During phase 2, Managing Change, we also developed resistance response activities to achieve persistent and generalized resistance when it occurs.

During phase 3, entitled Sustain Outcomes, we reviewed performance to understand the progress of the initiative, the results of the ADKAR and the status of change management activities. Managing resistance during phase 3: Sustain Outcomes consists of evaluating the performance of resistance management activities and documenting lessons learned for the future. Of course, we must first address the resistance of people's own managers before asking them to manage the resistance in their teams. Don't force change too quickly: When you try too hard for change to happen, it's easy to have tunnel vision and neglect important elements of your change plan. Staff managers are the other key group responsible for managing resistance because they are closer to employees, who, ultimately, must adopt and use change in their daily work. This further helps the organization to monitor the process of change and to celebrate the milestones achieved at all times.

If the change process is communicated effectively and employees understand not only why the change is taking place, but also how their daily lives will improve, they won't feel the need to resist it. Be sure to include key members of your team in the implementation and change management process so that they feel like they own the project. Management must be honest in explaining the amount of commitment that employees require to implement the change. A staff manager who openly supports and advocates for a particular change is likely to see the same behaviors in the reactions of his employees. Oftentimes, employees resist change because they believe that their opinion doesn't matter and wouldn't affect the decision to make an organizational change. Project teams and change management teams must work to address resistance and mitigate it, and they should always expect it to happen.

By understanding how people react differently when faced with changes, organizations can develop strategies that will help them manage resistance more effectively. To sum up, managing resistance during a change management process requires careful planning and execution. Organizations should use models such as ADKAR or Kübler-Ross Change Curve that focus on emotional reactions to changes. They should also involve key members of their team in the implementation process so that they feel like they own it. Finally, organizations should be honest about how much commitment is required from employees for successful implementation.

Madeline Credille
Madeline Credille

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