In business and in life, resistance to change is expected and is quite common. But, resistance is an especially germane topic for those in the process improvement space or are aiming to change for the better our organizations. Resistance is a fact of life. But, resistance is also a pattern that is quite predictable. From my experience, I’ve been able to catalog patterns of resistance and also potential root causes and their countermeasures. Below is a table of common forms of resistance to change that can either make or break your change management efforts.
|Common Forms of Resistance to Change, Root Causes, and Countermeasures|
|“This is just another ‘flavor of the month.’”||Multiple past initiatives have been launched with high fanfare and little results or staying power||Demonstrate leadership belief…|
|“I don’t have time…cannot free up resources.”||Too many projects or activities in process|
|“This does not apply in my part of the business.”||Misconception about how Lean or Six Sigma works; lack of information about how it applies||Lean Six Sigma has been proven in all business sectors and applications.|
|Unwillingness to provide “best people” as kaizen leaders||Would rather apply them to their own highest priorities|
|“The results are not real.”||Lack of confidence that the results will materialize|
|“How is this different from past quality and improvement initiatives?”||Fatigue from multiple quality initiatives|
|“Is this just a way to cut people or reduce headcount?”||Fear and/or mistrust|
|“Is this incremental to my existing business plan?”||Don’t want to add to existing workload|
|“Does management really believe or support it?”||Lack of confidence that everyone is on board|
One word of caution: as in most things, it’s not so much about persuading the “head” or intellectually convincing someone. It’s more about persuading the heart and emotions. Data is interesting and can be helpful, but the heart and emotion is what truly converts people and makes them champions for your cause. Remember this and behave accordingly.