How To Lead Change: My #1 Tip For Success
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
We are wired to resist change – especially when it’s imposed on us by other people. Change is uncomfortable. It causes anxiety – and we avoid things that cause us discomfort. If you attended my talk at the SCCE conference a few weeks ago in Maryland, you know that I had my challenges leading change in one of my previous roles. I gained a valuable takeaway from that experience, so I want to share my #1 insight that can make your compliance initiatives more successful: Plan for organizational resistance. Most people don’t think about resistance when they’re executing a project plan. They mobilize support and communicate the positive reasons for the change. But overlooking resistance can undermine the sustainability of your change in the long run. You must apply a level of change management to your approach.
A Tool For Change
I’ve adapted an easy tool for you to use with your change leadership projects.
This tool is based on change management theory, and the basic premise is this: organizational culture is in a state of equilibrium. There will always be driving forces that make change attractive to people and opposing forces that work to keep things as they are.
To bring about successful change, you must either strengthen the driving forces, or weaken the opposing forces.
Resistance Planning is a valuable exercise to lead with your project team.
1. Divide your team into two groups.
2. Ask one group to identify the driving forces that support your project and the second group to identify the opposing forces that push against your proposed change.
3. Give them the Resistance Planning Worksheet to record their results. At the end, you’ll get an inventory of driving and opposing forces to integrate into your project planning.
Keep it light and make it an open-ended, judgment-free zone.
Click here for your Resistance Planning Worksheet.
Use your results to risk-proof your project (no surprises!). A bonus effect is that it creates a “speak-up” environment where it’s safe to give feedback and express concerns as the project progresses.
One note to keep in mind: It’s often easier to weaken the restraining forces then it is to strengthen the driving forces.
Let me know how this works for you!