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Understanding and applying effective Change Management: Part Five – Leading through resistance

Oct 9 • Features, Management, Uncategorized • 3710 Views • Comments Off on Understanding and applying effective Change Management: Part Five – Leading through resistance

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Our exclusive series on applying change management in field service continues as we look at the fourth of five key steps outlined by Sharon Moura, VP of IT Transformation and Strategy with Tyco as she moved the company to ServiceMax’s field service management platform…

So far in this series we have covered the key concepts of change management, then looked closer at the 5-step approach Moura herself took. These were assessing the change ,engaging the head and the heart and then in our most recent feature, building a change agent network.

There is also a white paper that accompanies this series, which you can download here.

As we mentioned earlier in this series the goal of a successful change management program should not be to completely eradicate resistance to change, as this is an almost impossible task that will take far too much energy.  However we must focus on reducing the impact of resistance, and overcoming it as quickly as possible to move the change management project from concept to full adoption as swiftly as possible.

A key element therefore in a successful change management program is minimising the impact of resistance in your workforce and to achieve this we must understand the types of resistance we are likely to encounter. According to Moura these will come in three broad categories.

  1. I don’t get it
  2. I don’t like (or trust) you
  3. I don’t like it

So let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

I don’t get it.

This is an intellectual where there is a lack of understanding of the reason for your change management program. This is one area where it truly pays to become a broken record. If your cannot comprehend the change or are confused by why your change management project is being undertaken then getting their buy-in is going to be impossible to achieve.

It is vitally important that you communicate across multiple different channels – not just resending the same memo over and over.

Therefore it is vitally important that you communicate across multiple different channels – not just resending the same memo over and over. The content here is critical, before you dive straight into the ‘how’ things will be changing you need to make sure you have fully addressed the ‘why’ and again as we have mentioned in previous features position yourself in your employees shoes and outline why it is beneficial to them not just to the company as whole.

Also remember that change management is about people and people are different, and they adapt to change at different speeds. So whilst one member of staff might grasp the reason for the change when they receive that first memo it may take a different member of staff a little longer to fully get behind the change. Again repeating the message across multiple channels is crucial, to ensure you are getting the message across and understood by all of your team. Try to think of as many ways as possible you can make the case and remember the golden rule – once is not enough!

I don’t like (or trust) you

This is an emotional response and therefore perhaps potentially a little trickier to overcome. Ultimately this comes down to trust, and whether your workforce trusts you to lead them to a good future state. Perhaps they recall something that happened in the past that they didn’t like? Maybe the company wasn’t as upfront with them as they should have been when changes were made in the past? Why should they trust you this time around when you let them down in the past?The only way to overcome this type of resistance is to acknowledge it head on. Now is the time for rebuilding broken relationships and tending to neglected ones.

You must also be able to manage that impact and evaluating your relationships with these differing groups will be a core part in how you do so.

At the very beginning of the planning process of your change management program you should have assessed what the impact of this change should be on the various different stakeholders within your organisation. However, it is not enough to just assess how big impact is.  You must also be able to manage that impact and evaluating your relationships with these differing groups will be a core part in how you do so.

If there is damage to be fixed then taking responsibility for the mistakes of the past whilst simultaneously being seen to deliver on promises today is the only true way you can gain trust. However, as with the whole change management project itself establishing an effective change agent network can really help you get on track much faster and make the process of winning back trust much smoother.

I don’t like it

Firstly, if something is genuinely difficult to use, if it is clunky and unintuitive or overly complicated then this is going to be an issue. We cannot overlook the usability of any new technology when we look to invest in modernising our workflow.

So once again we return to a point we have already made within this series – bring in your field engineers, the guys that are going to be using this tech on a day to day basis, into the decision making process. By doing this and then effectively using a change agent network you can side step this issue and build genuine excitement amongst the staff for the new tools you are investing in for them.

You need to remove as much fear as possible about the new devices or applications whilst increasing the excitement around the change

And here in lies the key to overcoming this type of resistance. You need to remove as much fear as possible about the new devices or applications whilst increasing the excitement around the change by once again reaffirming what is in it for your workforce.

As we discussed when looking at engaging the head and the heart, our natural reaction to change is not the positive understanding of this being good for the organisation on some level. No, the first question we will ask will be “what exactly is this going to mean to me?”

If they feel they have been represented in not only in the selection, but also the configuration, deployment and roll out stages of the change management program then they will feel that their needs will have been considered, so once again we see the value of the change agent network.

Finally if you do see potential challenges in the short term then the only way to face these is head on. Work with your end-users and your provider to identify these challenges and how best to overcome them. Once more by bringing your field engineers into this process you will not only be overcoming challenges but also gaining trust throughout the process also. Meaning the next change management program you undertake will be that much easier!

 
Click here to download the white paper that accompanies this series

 

This series is sponsored by: 

servicemax

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