Why Is Change So Hard?

After several progress meetings we start to get anxious, because it’s not happening. We check the plan, we check to make sure everyone understands it, we check that everyone has the time and resources to make it happen and we explain again, and this time a little louder that it is REALLY important that we get this done.

We start to check progress more often and then the excuses start to come. If you are like me at this stage your blood starts to boil.

So why is change so hard? Even when it’s clearly the right thing for the organization and everyone in it? What are we missing?

The answer is the unseen, unspoken or unacknowledged agendas, politics, hopes, and unconscious dynamics that exist in every organization. To overcome these factors, you first need to be aware of them. Asking these questions will help:

1. Who will be most affected by the change and how will they perceive it?  How do you make this change attractive to them? Note: Asking them how they perceive the change may not yield the right answer.

2. Who can exert the most power and has the most influence to make the change happen? How do you get them to use this power and influence in support of the change? Note: These influencers are probably not at the top of the organization.

3. Who is going to be mad, glad, sad or afraid? How are you going to create an environment where they can have these emotional reactions and then move on? Note: If you don’t create this environment, they will not set these emotions aside and resistance to the change is likely to build rather than dissipate.

You’ve got change management built into most of the performance goals you set.  Ask these questions and plan accordingly and you’ll do better at moving through the change cycle and getting to the performance you want.