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Leading Change – Why Is It So Difficult?

Posted by Lisa Foley on Oct 20, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Young creative business people at office

Leaders understand that leading and implementing the people side of change will make or break the intended business outcomes of the change. They have created the change plan (roadmap) and communicated to teams and individuals. Then why is it so difficult to move through the change process? It can be a roller coaster moving through change to the intended destination.

Stages of Individual Change

There are several stages that people experience as they move through the change process. As a leader it helps to understand and anticipate these stages to keep the team members on the path to changing their behaviors. The stages are:

    1. Ending - All change involves loss and people process the losses first. It could include loss of control, competency, future, identity, relationships, knowledge. They may question where they fit in the new vision and what they control and influence. They will need guidance to move to the next stage.
    2. Transition – Confusion and chaos occur before people process the opportunity in the change. They will need direction on how to rebuild and succeed in the new world. The most difficult part is the unknown. It has been said that people do not hate change, they hate the unknown and uncertainty of change.
    3. Beginning – Eventually people will see the vision and the opportunity in the change. Employee engagement, hope and possibilities begin to materialize.

Resistance and Behavior Change

Throughout the stages of individual change all people experience resistance to varying degrees.

Resistance is to be expected. This is where the ground work on awareness and understanding the team comes in. Defining the change leaders vs. the change resisters will help to ease the pain understanding that some resistance is natural from everyone.

Breaking through resistance leverages tools and plans to anticipate problems and objections that will occur. It takes thinking through the way the change will be perceived by the team member and finding their motivation to move through the change. Work with the change leaders to help the team move forward.

Arriving at the Destination

There are many ups and downs and guiding people through the process of change. We start high with expectations and excitement about a new initiative and leading the change. But then we begin the process and hit some road blocks and lose momentum but keep pushing toward implementation. It can take many iterations in communication and steps on the roadmap to achieve the desired outcome. With practice with the new activities the easier it gets – ultimately resulting in the productivity and the business results that were envisioned.

How can Management Development Group Help?

Management Development Group works side-by-side with business leaders to navigate and guide a company’s change plans and support the leaders in its execution so that the business results of the change are realized and sustained and value is created for the company and its team members. Please contact me if you would like to discuss further.

Topics: Small Business, Accounting and Tax Resource, Talent and Leadership Development Resource, Strategic Leadership

Lisa Foley

Lisa Foley

Lisa's blend of business acumen and leadership development expertise were honed during her 30-year career as a leader across many disciplines in the financial services industry and consulting. An entrepreneur at heart, Lisa’s passion for helping companies grow began with her family’s multi-generational business. She believes leadership makes the difference between business success and failure and she works to train, develop, and mentor business leaders.

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