Organizations of all types must experience change in order to grow. The most challenging and critical component of the change process is often managing the people side of things. Organizations that manage change with ease will prosper while mitigating the risk of a drop in productivity, decrease in profit margins, and dissatisfied employees and customers. Overcoming resistance to change within an organization is possible by investing in change management. Here are steps to take in order to mitigate risk related to organizational resistance to change.

Prepare For Resistance

No matter how great of an improvement the change will bring to a project, expect resistance. Change creates fear, anxiety ,and stress due to moving into an unknown future and requiring people to get out of their comfort zones. Organizations should put forth the effort to address resistance but they should never be surprised by it.

Pinpoint Causes of Resistance

In order to prepare for resistance, it is good to identify the most likely sources of resistance and then brainstorm what will most drive this resistance. By identifying the source and looking deeply at the motives behind the resistance beforehand, you can develop a strategy to manage the resistance before it impacts the project at hand. Understanding the root cause of resistance helps change management members communicate more effectively why the change is needed.

Manage the Resistance

While managing resistance is part of change management, it should not be the sole purpose. Change management involves many proactive steps that ultimately mitigate resistance, and it addresses resistance throughout the lifecycle of the project. Managing resistance involves moving people through the change process and helping them individually address barriers so change can be successful. An organization’s plan to manage the resistance should provide specific steps for understanding and addressing resistance on an individual level.

Additionally, a resistance management plan should accept feedback from those within the organization to gain insight and understanding. This helps the organization recognize gaps and identify ongoing resistance. Accepting feedback and formally addressing resistance throughout the change process allows an organization to take a proactive approach by offering support and addressing objections.

Engage Resistant Managers

Senior leaders, frontline supervisors, and middle managers should be utilized as resistant managers. They can be highly effective in mitigating resistance by demonstrating their commitment to a change. These leaders are most often looked to when others are deciding if a change is needed. If employees feel leadership is neutral about a change, or resistant to, the employees will follow their lead. Resistant managers must encourage employees to move forward in the change process.

Change management helps prepare and support all of those involved in organizational change. When an organization is successful in engaging workers and resources, the organization is more likely to embrace and adopt change, thus experiencing a lesser amount of resistance while moving people through the change.