Recently, a client made a comment on one of our blogs that they’d like to see FBG write an article on “…strategies to change the mindset of the 'resistant' employees”. The word resistant was placed in inverted commas because we know that describing someone as resistant during change is often erroneous and likely to create the exact opposite of our intent – getting people ‘on board’ with change.
Labelling someone as resistant assumes they are making a conscious choice to oppose change. In reality, it’s not that simple. Unfortunately in our fast paced environment simplicity is what a lot of us seek to grab onto at any opportunity. We often don’t reflect on the broad range of possibilities that might explain an employee’s apparent rejection of change. Instead we will often make the attribution error, crediting the rebuff to the individual’s character with thoughts such as “you’re just lazy”, “you’re trying to create trouble” or “you’re being difficult”.
Thoughts like these are examples of our unconscious biases, the shortcuts our brains take to process information. Without them we would operate at a much slower pace because we would need to stop and think through every single action we take. We implicitly and automatically both group and categorise people and objects to avoid having to conduct completely new assessments for every new person or object. The trouble with taking a short cut in this instance is we miss out on the golden opportunity to successfully influence the apparent naysayer.more info
Are you like me and chuckle at some of the language used in organisations?
At one of my former employers, terms like “top of mind", "flag (an issue)" and "close the loop" were used commonly. Whenever they were used I would automatically create an accompanying visual – an issue sitting on a person’s head, someone waving a little white flag and a person walking into someone’s office with a hula hoop.
I was curious as to why these terms were used and not “I was thinking about….”, “I’d like to raise an issue….” and “just getting back to you about….” I thought these were the conventional phrases. However it seems catchphrases really do catch on in organisations and make the conventional seem a little dull.
It’s not only the catchphrases that raise my curiosity. It’s also what might be termed ‘repeated slogans’ that might sound clever but unwittingly create poor outcomes.
As a Senior Executive, making a commitment to significant transformational change in a large organisation is akin to setting a challenge to climb Everest. If you spent too much time analysing the potential obstacles or if you looked at the track record of previous attempts, you’d probably decide against it. However, if you have embraced your role as having responsibility for driving change and you want to leave a legacy as a successful Senior Executive, you have the motivation to make it happen regardless.
However, you can’t make the change happen alone. You need your workforce to do a lot of the lifting. Trouble is, in organisations many employees feel like they stand to lose more than gain by participating in a large scale change process. They have skin in the game so to speak but maybe not in the way you’d like.
Are people in your organisation tired of hearing the term ‘’restructure’’ being thrown around every time there is a significant change in leadership? Most employees see restructuring as a redundant exercise which creates havoc with workflow and productivity, unsettles them and accomplishes very little otherwise. But a well implemented, purpose-driven restructure can in fact do wonders for an organisation’s effectiveness. So the question arises – when is a restructure the right solution?
Most new leaders fall into the trap of thinking that structural change is the best way to refresh and revive the organisation and essentially ‘’shake things up”. Unfortunately, a large number of these restructures are unsuccessful ventures because of inadequate planning, implementation, and most importantly, engagement with staff on the ground.... more info
Many people in organisations don’t like change – it can be seen as disruptive and annoying. Routines developed and processes mastered create comfort, certainty and a sense of competence. Change throws a cat amongst the pigeons and unsettles things.
Some people see change in organisations as a reason to suspend current functioning of the business. Projects and decisions are put on hold while the change is worked out. Change is seen as an unusual occurrence which we just need to get through before things get back to normal and we can resume business as usual.more info