Management Success Tip #132: Overcome Resistance to Change: Understand What’s In the Way

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

You’re excited about the new software you want to implement, department-wide. Or you’re totally enthused about the new game plan marketing has developed to propel the success of your project. Or you’ve discovered a terrific new way to engage customers.

Off you go, putting the new whatever into effect, expecting nothing but great results, when HALT. You run up against a wall you truly did not expect: employee resistance. Oh, the surface, your employees may be nodding their heads and feeding you the party line: “Great idea, boss” – but underneath, you can hear their rumbles, and more importantly, nothing much is happening. Some of your employees are going with your new flow, some are even well-motivated, but a surprising number aren’t.

What’s up with that?

Resistance to change. Simple as that. Employees rarely adopt change with the zeal and gusto you’d like.

Why are they resisting?

Here are eight possible reasons, succinctly put forth by Dr. Ross Wirth:

“Inertia – comfort with the status quo

Timing – conflicts with other initiatives and/or priorities

Surprise – proper groundwork has not been done so people are caught off guard (need for  change not established)

Misunderstanding – benefits not properly understood

Cultural pressure – some who may want to change are held back by others in the  organization

Self-interest – conflicting personal priorities

Differing assessment – conflicting agreement over the value of the benefits associated  with the change

Difficulty of change – organizational momentum and individual resistance.”

Figure out which of these reasons might apply, and respond to them. The resistance that has blocked your success will, in all likelihood, melt away.


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