Tech Tip: Overcoming Resistance to Change

Change is something that’s surprisingly controversial in the office environment, especially when it has to do with technology or business practices. Management might think that one thing is great, but the rest of the staff might not have the same opinion, leading to friction between them. Where does resistance to change come from, and how can you overcome it?

Why Are We So Resistant to Change?

There are several reasons people might be resistant to change, to the point where they may openly protest any changes in policy or procedure.

Lack of Confidence or Trust

If you have no experience with something, chances are your reaction to this change would be lukewarm at best. People don’t like to embrace change if it’s something they are unfamiliar with, especially when it comes to new, complicated and seemingly unnecessary technology solutions. They might grow to resent the change, or even the person instigating the change.

Failure Aversion

If people aren’t confident in their ability to learn the new technology, they might try to shield themselves from failure by refusing to use it entirely. Essentially, what happens is that the anticipated failure makes them avoid it altogether, making the shift to this new solution borderline impossible. This type of resistance is best resolved by encouraging the user to utilize the new technology and provide the necessary training and support so they can build their confidence in it.

Communication Issues

If changes are implemented without getting feedback from staff or other stakeholders, they will naturally feel uninvolved in the process and thus unlikely to jump on board with the change. If you can show that the new solution will actually make their jobs easier or better, your staff might be more receptive to the change.

How to Create a Better Response to Changes

While you can’t avoid change, you can embrace it and encourage your employees to do the same. Here are some ways you can help them accept change.

Keep Communication Open

As we mentioned previously, communication is key when implementing any change in your business. If you can explain the changes and the benefits they bring, you enable feedback, a critical component in making your employees feel heard and understood. This also keeps them engaged in the process and involved in the business’s greater operations.

Show Your Team the Benefits

It’s one thing to tell your team what benefits a new solution brings, but another altogether to show them how it will make their lives easier. If you can show off the great benefits or features of a new technology solution, as well as how it might improve their current situations, your team might be more eager to embrace the solution.

Time It Correctly

If you spring a bunch of major changes on your staff all at once, they will be more likely to push back. Be sure to pace your changes and allow your team to adjust to them as needed before proceeding with the implementation of other solutions.

Support Team Members Through the Transition Process

You also must give your team a way to discuss the solution and be patient with them throughout the transition process. There will be issues that pop up, no matter how well-planned the transition might be, so plan accordingly and be ready to address and understand your staff’s frustrations.

Of course, with IT, change is going to happen whether your team likes it or not. Putting these tips into practice will help you make sure any new project implementation is a successful one. To learn more, call Computerware today at (703) 821-8200 or go to:

Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.





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