Overcoming Resistance to Change

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    • but someone might throw up on your boss's shoes and get you fired, so you might want to avoid that one. If your budget allows, free baked goods and coffee in the morning and pizza for lunch during training and implementation sessions goes a long way in converting the masses (or at least getting them to show up at meetings).
    • Make sure you have management backing. If the team sees true management commitment behind the changes, they will be more likely to conform, even if against their will. Once the change becomes familiar, the skeptics usually realize it wasn't so bad after all.
    • At the beginning of any change initiative, include all the users who will be affected in the decision making process. If people feel like they were involved from the beginning, they will be much more receptive to adopting the change.
    • Find out your users objections. Why don't they want to change? What is it that they are afraid of? Learn their objections and then come up with examples that will overcome them. Be realistic, though, and don't stretch the truth about how great the changes will be.
    • Spend some one on one time with the biggest resisters. Ask them to show you their current process and what they like about it. Take notes. You will probably identify parts of your new process that will fix things they don't like about the current process, providing real examples on how the change will benefit them.
    • Take baby steps. Don't implement a new tool, a new process, and start a new project all at the same time. Taking on too much change at one time will most likely fail.
    • Divide and conquer. Find users who are adventurous and willing to try out new things and make them part of a pilot group. This increases the chance of success with the pilot, creates a team of eager evangelists to help promote your cause and creates a pool of real life examples you can show the skeptics.

Following these suggestions should help you overcome resistance to change, and you will be revered by management and colleagues alike! Unfortunately, a corporate reorganization will come along and all the people you impressed will be moved into another division and your new management won't have a clue what you did. Ah, change - it's a slippery devil.


Matthew Johnson has over eleven years of experience in the Configuration Management field, with expertise in administrating enterprise level configuration management tools in the medical device industry.  He lives in Southeastern PA with his wife, two little boys and a yellow labrador that is really just a furry stomach with four legs and a head.

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