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The very real reasons why people resist change

The very real reasons why people resist change

Some say change is as good as a holiday, but the reality is that to many people out there, change is not something they’re comfortable with at all.  It can be a very unsettling experience – one which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. For companies to be successful in rolling out change, they need to be cognisant of the reasons why people resist change to ensure that they put mitigation actions in place to avoid these.

Through our experience assisting clients with various change management processes, we’ve identified the following as the top reasons why people resist change:

  • Fear of being made redundant

Change is usually the end result of a company re-looking at their processes with the aim to become more efficient.  Technology advances and streamlined processing can lead to downsizing or changes in people’s roles.  It’s important to be upfront about your strategy from the get-go to either put people’s minds at ease, or to allow them enough time to make any necessary preparations.

  • Fear of the unknown

People are unlikely to adopt new ways of working without first understanding how it will impact them as an individual, how it will impact their team, what the risks are, and what the potential is for success.  You need to take people on a journey, firstly setting the scene for the overall strategy of the change, and then breaking it down into easy to understand components.

  • Lack of clear, concise and regular communication

It is crucial to clearly and consistently communicate every step of the way, because when it comes to change, there is no such thing as too much communication.  You also need to get creative with your communication style and delivery methods to avoid your message getting lost within the noise of the day-to-day.  Make it fun, make it engaging, and always be sure to keep it honest.

  • Competing office politics and a lack of trust

In an environment of competing office politics, you will find pockets of people resisting a change purely to make a statement.  Add to this a situation where there they don’t have trust in those responsible for implementing the change and you’re facing an uphill battle that’ll likely overpower any positive steps you’re trying to take.

  • Executing change in isolation

When people feel like something is being done to them without being given the opportunity to provide their input, it will inevitably fail.  In contrast, when people are allowed to be part of the change process, sharing their ideas and co-creating the action plan, you create a greater sense of buy-in which will convert them into champions of change.

  • Getting the timing wrong

Timing is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  If your company has already gone through a high level of change, you could get into a situation referred to as change fatigue.  A better idea would be to implement change in smaller increments over a longer period of time to allow your employees to adapt at a slower and more stable pace.


Need assistance with change management within your business?  Contact us on 021 447 5696 or email to discuss consulting options to suit your specific needs.

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