Remember what we hear when we're inspired by some new idea and present it to our co-workers? "We don't need this project!" "No, I don't want it even for a raise!" "We will not cooperate with the marketing department, they're all fools over there." "I've already had the displeasure of taking that sort of initiative... So, no thanks!"
You have probably heard some other reasons against changes. Or even worse, you might have encountered zero reaction. Only angry and silent consent.
Check it out. As a rule, ten percent of employees accept changes. They see all the benefits and are ready to move along. Another 10% are potential underminers. They are openly or secretly opposed and set everyone else against the changes.They would only be happy if you just gave them a pay raise and left them alone. But in the end, they'll accept the changes. Or quit because of the pressure from the management and others.
And then there is the eighty percent of employees who have not yet formed their position. They have nothing against changes if... it does not go beyond rhetoric. However. If you stick to the plan of changes, these people will take your side in the end.
So, most of employees are not ready for changes. This is something you must deal with. You can actually work on it. Now you'll learn about the so-called stages of accepting the inevitable. These stages were identified when studying terminally ill people's reactions to their diagnosis.
Check these stages.
The first is denial. For example, you implement the system of operational efficiency in the shoe store called "My shoe." You ask Ms. Smith to tidy up the working space near the cash register. Of course, she objects. She insists that everything is fine. She's sure that she perfectly navigates within her own creative clutter and does not spend too much time searching for needed things.
But you insist that order is necessary. Ms. Smith goes to the second stage. Now she is in anger. She begins to protect her space rather emotionally.
But you are persistent in your intention to change the world for the better. This moves Ms. Smith to the third stage. She starts to bargain. She says she could do it but only in a certain area. For example, on the table.
You keep insisting. Ms. Smith cleans up the table and heads for... depression. This is the fourth stage, of acceptance of the inevitable. The employee keeps complaining and thinks you're throwing a wrench in their work.
Thanks to your determination, Ms. Smith moves on to the fifth stage - acceptance. None of her means of resistance worked and there was no choice left for her. Unless... we make necessary clarifications at the very first stage. You KNOW the purpose of the changes you plan. So, share it with your team! After all, it's hard to recognize your plans if people are busy with their job responsibilities. Show Ms. Smith what her benefits will be. Prove there will be more perks than inconveniences.
Wait a moment. The employees will indeed accept the changes eventually, won't they? After all, it is you who gives orders here. However, this approach has its downsides. Look.
The employees can simply torpedo your offers. They'll insist that they are following all instructions and plans, and that is enough.
They can also follow your orders partially. Like "I'll clean up as per your feng shui, but only at the cash register."
And thirdly. Employees can simulate acceptance. You'll run an inspection, check the boxes in your tablet, and give everyone their credit. But as soon as the door is closed behind your back, tons of skeletons will fall out of the closet.
Try to understand. You can give an order, of course. Because that is where it all starts, in the first place. But this is not the only resource we can use.
Look at the two reasons why people might resist changes.
First, it is the power of habit. A person has worked in a certain way for months, years maybe. They might understand that their work is not perfect. But they fear that outside of this minimal comfort zone it might be much worse. After all, it is easier to leave everything as it is, because it works.
And second, a person resists changes when they have no idea what they are needed for. They don't see any personal advantages.
However, you, as a manager, will form new habits. You should do it with minimal losses for your employees.