22 Apr Leadership Skills Development: Top Three Reasons Why People Resist Change
Success in any endeavor or business requires constant change. We are creatures of habit and like to be guaranteed a positive outcome yet change always comes with uncertainty. So that means leadership skills development is all about having the willingness to move out of our comfort zone and risking the unknown.
Leadership Skills Development
Leadership is really all about change. It is about empowering people to trust the process and envision a better way. It is about inspiring others to move forward and grow despite facing adverse situations. Change is imperative if a business is to thrive yet getting people to embrace it is one of the most challenging tasks a leader can face.
A Leadership Example
Joanne Beaton is a shining example of a leader who not only inspired change but turned a dying business into a growing enterprise. Joanne was asked to take over Operator Services for TELUS, a large Canadian Telecommunications company. Technology was replacing people for most of the functions and the service center was losing money and losing steam. Engagement and morale were low. Her leaders told her that the most likely ultimate solution was to outsource the business and cut costs. But instead of surrendering to what seemed to be the inevitable, Joanne met with every team member at operator services and basically said, “No one else is going to save this business but us.” She began asking people three questions: If you were our competitors what would you do to put us out of business? If you were me how would you turn this around? And finally, how did they (her associates) think they had to change for the business to be successful. Joanne followed three key principles which may help explain why here people created an amazing turnaround.
Not only did they grow their business by fifty percent, they increased their productivity by 1,000 percent, and became a high-service, low-cost operator. Eventually, they won awards for the best operator services in North America and became a sustainable profit center! They began to benchmark their services against competitors, talked about how to improve the business, and figured out how to raise morale and productivity. TELUS set the example the power of inspiring people to embrace change.
Leadership Skills Development: Helping People Overcome Change
When you want to implement change in your organization, remember the extraordinary story of Joanne Beaton. Here are the top three reasons why people resist change and how you can help them.
#1 People don’t see the reason for change. Unless people understand the “why” and “what” for change, they simply won’t be motivated. As a leader, it is unwise to merely make decisions and announce them without getting input. It is vital to help people understand why and give them opportunities to ask questions. As one CEO said to me once: “Until you have people on the why, they will argue about the how forever when what they really don’t get is the why!” Joanne helped them understand the need for change and to come to their own conclusions.
#2 People feel like victims when forced to change. No one wants to be changed—they want to be involved in change. They want to make a difference. Just as Joanne did, engage and involve your people. Look for all the ways you can involve them in making a decision. For example—maybe you have to cut 5% off the budget and it’s not negotiable but you can get people to help you decide HOW to make the cuts even if they can’t change the 5% target.
#3 No one can change other people. They have to choose to change. Study after study shows that when people choose to change it makes all the difference. Give people all the facts, ask them what change makes sense to them then ask them what steps they are willing to commit to. Let people come to their own conclusions. As Joanne Beaton said to me: “As leaders we are often afraid to ask people what needs to change because we think they will have a different view, but I have found if you give people all the facts, they will often come to the same conclusions.”