Tackling resistance to change

People do things for a reason, even if the reason is not clear-cut or obvious to an external observer.

If we want people to change their behaviour, we must give them better and more powerful reasons from their perspective for the new desired behaviour, than the reasons that are driving the existing behaviour.

Also, ideally, it must be easier to do the new behaviour than to fall back to the old one.

To achieve this, we need to understand what is driving the current behaviour beyond the obvious.

What does an employee get from the old behaviour that they stand to lose with the new behaviour? Time? Approval? Kudos? Comfort? A sense of control? What?

These ‘hidden’ benefits of the status quo are very real and can be powerful but often lie hidden under the waterline. Note that these benefits might be either avoiding something or gaining something.

The only way to dig into this is to talk to people about the pros and cons as they see them for both the old and new behaviours.

When you identify the benefits of the old behaviour that will be lost during the change, can you find some way to deliver those same benefits as part of the new way of doing things?

Then you have some marketing to do to promote the benefits of the new way of doing things so people realise they will not lose out by making the change.