4 Powerful Mindsets for Tackling Resistance to Change

4 Powerful Mindsets for Tackling Organizational Resistance to Change

Research shows that the #1 determinant in the success or failure of organizational change is executive sponsorship. People emulate their leaders – for better or for worse.

Eliminating employee resistance to change

Often, once an executive thinks through and sanctions or names the change, he or she assumes everyone else “gets it.” As if somehow psychically their thought waves are transferred directly into the minds of everyone else in the organization. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but too many senior leaders hold a mindset of “I’m the boss, it’s my job to decide.” In contrast, employees typically say they feel surprised, confused and out of the loop.

Managing change requires a delicate balance of leadership, strong corporate culture, and employee buy-in. Inspiring adaptability and open-mindedness throughout an organization will strengthen the change management process, enabling quicker decision making and greater innovation across the spectrum. Here are four powerful mindsets and practices to close this gap, eliminate organizational resistance to change, and create a change-friendly corporate culture:

1) The mindset of storytelling. People love stories. Build your change story like you would a great commercial and repeat it over and over. Repetition works, and it keeps you excited too. Make it funny, make it personal, paint a picture with words – no boring spreadsheet talk!

2) The mindset of conversation. You want more conversations – dialogue is what leads to commitment. Ask people constantly for input: “How will this impact you?” “What’s important about how we do this?” Don’t let your fear that you “won’t like the answer” stop you. This practice creates buy-in, and also builds excitement. The more conversation you generate around a topic, the bigger the wave of collective enthusiasm.

3) The mindset of candor. Create monthly “employee-leader vision forums” – in which people take the gloves off and are invited to ask about, brainstorm, and discuss whatever they want. “Best meetings I’ve ever attended” say people who do them.

4) The mindset of curiosity. “I don’t know” are the most powerful 3 words a leader can learn. People love it when their leaders talk to them even when they don’t have the answer. (Maybe especially when they don’t have the answer.) It will often work better if you don’t know, show up and ask employees what’s on their mind.

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