If it aint broke, don’t fix it!
As a natural default most of us opt for doing what’s easiest right now (also known as taking the path of least resistance) rather than doing what’s best long term. We prefer to do things the way they’ve always been done…so we’re not having to switch our brains on.
And why not! If we have been performing tasks a certain way for a long period of time they become automatic, they use less energy and don’t require much conscious attention. So at the end of the day we still have enough energy to go to the gym, out for dinner or binge watch a season of Downton Abbey.
So changing something that doesn’t appear to be broken is like trying to convince a teenager to get off the couch to get a job. When our needs are being met right here and now it doesn’t make logical sense to invest more energy than is necessary.
It’s no different in the workplace. When your staff are resisting a change it’s likely they don’t understand or don’t agree with the reason for doing so. If something’s working fine now then why are we wasting time and effort on doing it a different way? It’s this question you need to be able to answer for your people.
As a leader, if you can’t rationalise the change then you’re unlikely to convince your staff to get onboard. Once you’ve made sense of the change (which could require some clarification from 3rdparties) your attention will shift to convincing your staff. This is the part that takes the most time…and often the part leaders will try to speed up or skip over.
According to research conducted by Prosci (experts is change management) one of the main reasons staff resist change is a lack of awareness, followed closely by fear of the unknown.
So don’t underestimate the role you play in change. Your team will be looking to you for clarity and guidance. They will want reassurance that the change will make their lives easier, not harder.
Finally, resist the temptation to blame your staff and their ‘resistance to change’. It’s not that people don’t like change, it’s that people don’t like to be changed. The key factor here is about choice. Increasing awareness will open up choice.
Need help leading your team through change? Give me a call!
Shelley Flett is a business and leadership trainer & coach who works with businesses to maximise efficiency and build high performance team cultures in organisations of any size. If you’d like to know more about how she can work with you, and your team, drop her an email firstname.lastname@example.org.