Making changes and overcoming resistance
Innovative organizational culture, fighters for the idea, innovative teams, incubators of ideas contribute to the initiation and development of new ideas. The next step is to make changes. A new creative idea will not be of use unless it is used to the fullest. Managers often find themselves confused, confronted with resistance, which for one reason or another employees who do not want to accept changes. To effectively manage the change process, managers need to understand the reasons for employee resistance, and then use special methods that help to establish cooperation.
The inability of people to accept change is not something new at all. If managers try to implement innovations without first having prepared a firm ground for them, their plans will remain only on paper. In this regard, Harvard University Professor John Kotter (J. Kotter) offers companies seeking change, the next eight-step guide, which will allow them to build the potential for a successful transformation:
Sow the sense of the urgency of change by carefully studying the market and determining the possibilities of the crisis;
How to ...
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Create a powerful coalition of managers who can manage change;
formulate a vision of the future in such a way as to direct change and strategy to achieve this vision; report this vision to all employees of the organization; Empower others to act towards the vision through removing barriers, changing management systems, and encouraging risk taking;
make a plan for visible short-term improvements and implement it;
evaluate the work done, determine what changes have occurred, and make adjustments if necessary, and develop a new program;
Underline the relationship between new behaviors and the progress the organization has made.
Major changes are not easy and sometimes carry unpleasant surprises. However, following the proposed leadership, the company can overcome the setbacks and achieve tangible success.
Fighters for the idea often face the complete indifference of their colleagues. Members of innovation groups may be surprised to find that company managers do not support them and do not share their aspirations. Managers and employees who are not involved in the process of change tend to give preference to the status quo. Employees resist change for the following reasons, understanding which helps managers make changes more efficiently:
self-interest - employees usually resist change because they believe that innovation will deprive them of certain values. Alleged changes in labor responsibilities, structures, technologies can threaten the loss of power, prestige, lower earnings, loss of privileges. Fear of personal loss is probably the most serious obstacle to organizational change;
lack of understanding and trust - staff often do not understand what the intended goals of change are, or are distrustful of the intentions that lie behind attempts at change. If the previous relationship between the fighters for the idea and the employees were tense, the latter can resist. So, one manager used to initiate changes in the reporting system every 12 months, after which every time he lost interest in his undertakings and threw them. After the third attempt, the staff resisted, because they did not believe in the manager's intention to take into account the interests of his subordinates;
uncertainty - lack of information about upcoming events that causes fear of the unknown. This fear is especially great among those employees who generally do not like changes and avoid all that is new and unusual. They do not know what impact innovations will have on them, and they worry if they will be able to meet the requirements associated with new procedures or the application of new technologies;
difference in assessments and goals - people who experience the impact of innovation can evaluate the situation differently than fighters for an idea or innovative teams. Critics often object to a legitimate disagreement with the perceived benefits of change. Managers of each department pursue their own goals, meanwhile innovation can worsen the results of their subordinates' work and prevent the fulfillment of basic tasks. For example, the release of a new product in the interests of consumers can lead to an increase in production costs, which can cause dissatisfaction with the manager of the production department. Resistance is sometimes aimed at drawing the attention of supporters of innovation to the problems that this innovation creates.
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The analysis of the force field was developed on the basis of the concept of K. Levine, who at one time suggested that the changes are the result of a rivalry of the driving and deterrent forces. Driving forces can be seen as problems or opportunities that stimulate change within the organization. Restraining forces are different barriers to change, for example, lack of resources, resistance of middle managers, lack of necessary skills for employees. Introducing innovations, managers should define both the driving forces (problems and opportunities) and constraints (barriers to change). With selective neutralization of constraining forces, the driving forces are able to make changes. As a result of reducing or eliminating barriers, integration begins, leading to the desired changes.
Another way to implement changes is the use of special methods aimed at overcoming resistance. For example, resistance to innovation can be overcome by training employees or involving them in the process of change. Researchers studied various methods of overcoming resistance:
communication and learning - is used in cases where employees who provide resistance need detailed information. Training is especially important if the change requires new technical knowledge or the staff is not familiar with the innovation being introduced;
complicity - involvement in the development of changes to those employees who are affected by the change, and those who potentially disagree with them. The application of this approach is time-consuming, which, in the end, pays off, because employees, having understood the essence of the changes, begin to support them. This method also helps managers identify potential problems and see differences in employees' perception of innovation;
Negotiations is a formal way to achieve mutual understanding and cooperation that is necessary for innovation. For example, if the marketing department is afraid of losing its influence as a result of a change in management structure, the company's management can begin negotiations with him to solve the problem. Companies in which trade unions have a lot of weight, when making changes, are forced to negotiate with trade union leaders. As a result, agreements can be concluded with trade unions on the inclusion of new rules in labor agreements;
coercion - Managers use their power to force employees to accept change. Resistance people are told that if they do not obey, they will lose their reward or even work. In many situations, this approach is unacceptable, because employees, perceiving themselves as victims, are angry with managers who initiate change, and can sabotage innovation. However, sometimes, in the event of a crisis, coercion is necessary if the company is to take urgent action;
support from top managers - helps overcome resistance to change, indicates to employees that the changes are very important for the organization. The support of top managers is especially important in cases where there is a redistribution of resources and when innovations affect numerous departments. Without this support, the changes will get bogged down in endless quarrels between divisions. Moreover, if the top managers do not support the project, they can involuntarily interfere with its implementation with their conflicting orders.
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