Replacing Hierarchy and Control with Collaboration and Autonomy

We can advise you on your business performance improvement strategies when implementing an agile culture in your organization.
Gestion du changement organisationnel

Business Performance Improvement: Need help in managing organizational change?

Whether you’re implementing an agile approach or you’re handling a project that is struggling to perform, do you fear resistance from your employees?

Maybe you launched a transformation project a while ago and the level of resistance and problems you are experiencing are more than you expected?

There are many reasons behind resistance to change: satisfaction with the status quo, personal preferences, work habits, lack of understanding for the need for change, discomfort with the newly proposed process, lack of confidence, lack of information, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, loss of control, etc.

All these reasons are valid and must be taken into consideration to effectively manage organizational change. On the other hand, your strategy for dealing with these concerns will have a significant impact on your new project’s chances of success – and on your employees’ level of happiness at work.

What’s the key to good organizational change management?

Throughout all our engagements, we have yet to meet a leader that has not experienced resistance to changes that he/she wants to implement. Unfortunately, the following are some of the most popular methods of managing organizational change:

  • The bulldozer method that consists of ploughing ahead with a project, regardless of any resistance. This approach generally causes serious human “damage”, such as a drop in employee engagement level, resentment, loss of trust towards leaders and decreased productivity;
  • The ostrich approach based on an “out of sight out of mind” philosophy, and a belief that everything will work out perfectly. This approach has its own negative consequences such as communication breakdown between employees and managers, complacency, lack of employee motivation and even activity sabotage, which all ultimately lead to decreased productivity;
  • The teflon approach that consists of selectively hearing only positive feedback and ignoring anything critical. This approach is a slight improvement over the two others, but it still causes mid-term and long-term consequences.

While many perceive resistance to change as a “problem” for organizations, we believe that it is critical to understand the underlying reasons for this resistance in order to use the right approach to manage business performance improvement.

What are the main fears behind organizational change?

Fear is one of the oldest human emotions, and fear of the unknown (fear of a hypothetical danger) is an emotion generally felt in the face of a danger or threat.

While it may seem irrational, fear of change (fear experienced during organizational change) is an important factor to address in order to increase your projects’ chances of success.

To propose solutions, we have regrouped these factors into three categories:

  • Change of habits: New initiatives change, if not completely overhaul, individual habits. People, being what they are, tend to think of the worst case scenarios. And while work habits may change, as long as the new situation is not known, communicated and understood, the individuals affected will not be able to envision their new work habits and thus adopt the new changes.
  • Misunderstanding and lack of information: Organizational changes are often accompanied by diverse communications. However, the information that is communicated tends to address the perspective of those initiating the changes and not that of those impacted by the changes. It is critical to communicate information that is adapted to the context of the people affected – one has to ask, “What do these changes signify for THEM?”
  • Skepticism and bad experiences: In an era of frequent change and unkept promises, individuals can become skeptical to the intentions presented and the desired results. While it’s true that certain changes can have a major negative impact, hiding this fact serves no one. We suggest treating individuals like mature adults and to communicate openly and clearly the intentions and anticipated results, and to offer people adequate support so that they can process the information. Some people will be negatively impacted and will react accordingly, but the majority of people will appreciate the integrity of the approach and the consistency of the actions taken.

Rather than formulate incorrect hypotheses regarding people’s motivations behind their resistance to changes, we suggest letting us support you and share with you our approach to understand the best ways to carry out effective change management that leads to business performance improvement.

What services can you offer me?

We help organizations with business performance improvement by implementing effective organizational change management and a strong culture that fosters engagement, accountability and meeting objectives.

We provide strategic guidance, tactical (in-the-field) support and customized training.