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Crossroads Business Development Inc. | Meridian, ID

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Common Fears That Lead to Change Failing

Self Interest

Some managers, upper echelon individuals, and even support people may feel that any type of change will lead to a removal of value from their performance and they will spend energy in favor of their self-interest. In a typical manner we see resistance start at the top because individuals at the top are more cautious of upward mobility and fear control of their world slipping away.


Other times there is resistance simply because there are either misunderstandings around the implications of the change and a created perception that the change will cost more than the individual will gain. When trust is lacking between the person initiating the change and the people experiencing the change there is a larger chance of a disruption and literal resistance from individuals within the organization.


People within an organization see change from their own vantage point and typically there is a difference between the perspectives when considering the costs versus the benefits resulting from the change. Individuals who are focusing on themselves may spend more effort sabotaging the changes that are coming in fear of those changes leading to their becoming obsolete and, ultimately, their replacement.

Low tolerance and low skills

Some people resist change because they fear that they will be required to develop new skills and behaviors that they will not be able to complete. This may mean that they are concerned over their skills in the first place. Organizational changes can inadvertently require people to change too much, too quickly, or at least make them feel that this is the biggest concern they have.

Four Strategies to Approach Organizational Changes

When approaching organizational changes there is a decision made by managers to the speed of the change, the planning that comes first, others involvement, and the emphasis to each of the places to focus. Successful change, no matter the strategy, requires consistency and key approaches and awareness of necessary adjustments to make when expected situations may arise.

In order to set up an improved chance for success when conducting organizational change, a manager can implement a fair amount of strategies to improve the possibility of a successful transition.

First, they can focus their efforts on identifying the underlying issues which create or maximize the current situation and problems relevant. This analysis can highlight which issues are important to immediately address and where we can work double to avoid unnecessary problem creation.

Second, we can calculate the resources necessary to produce lasting effects from the needed changes. This should focus on questions with regard to what resistance might be expected, why, and how much of that resistance can be avoided. We can also highlight who owns the information necessary to design the change and whose cooperation is essential to making sure it succeeds. The initiator of the change must be placed in a position relative to relevant parties in terms of trust, power, and regular interactions to succeed and create success.

Third, we’d need to select a strategy that is internally consistent with our priorities and core values and highlights the work done in analyzing and planning for the change to take place. Consistency in an organization can remove a large amount of the resistance or impact of change by simply highlighting the continuity of our procedures and values within the change.

Finally, no change can be successful if it isn’t monitored and measured. We must spend the majority of our effort during the change controlling the strategy of implementation and keeping track of the unexpected, because we can expect that something will eventually occur and if we are carefully monitoring the process of change then we can recognize the issue, the underlying problem, and react to it proactively with intelligence.

For us at Sandler, we use the Devine Inventory as a great way to start measuring an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to the core members who will be working to implement change. Not only does it highlight the potential strengths, but it calls our attention to the weaknesses that we may need to hone in on or pay attention when looking for expected success.

If you’re interested in seeing what your management team or organization looks like through specific lenses of their roles which highlight their competencies and skills—and breaking those down to hard-wired and trainable traits in order to maximize the effectiveness of your organization’s day-to-day progress then reach out. We’ll put together a plan and build an agenda to talk about functionality within the organization and cut out some of the underlying issues that might be creating issues for you and your constituents.

And remember, if you measure it, you’ll manage it,

Jim Stephens


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