Reasons why people resist change

Leadership & Management

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12 reasons why people resist change.

  • 12 reasons why people resist change
  • And some ideas of what to do about it.
  • Reason # 1 The rewards of changing things are seen as being too low
  • What do I get from this change?
  • When people do not have the answer to the question ”What’s in it for me?”, they will resist change.
  • People will resist change when the rewards for making the change are seen as too low compared to the trouble / stress / extra work involved.
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  • Reason # 2 The person does not see the need for change
  • When people are not aware of the need for change, they will resist change.
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  • Reason # 3 The values of the person / group / family / community go against change
  • Efficiency Tradition Security Curiosity Creativity Experimentation
  • To be efficient To be creative Plan Let things emerge Stick to your knitting Think outside the box Exploit what you know Explore what you don’t know Govindarajan, Vijay & Trimble, Chris: 10 Rules for Strategic Innovators, p. 3.
  • Fact is, most businesses were never built to change - they were built to do one thing exceedingly well and highly efficiently - forever. That’s why entire industries can get caught out by change - industries like big pharma, publishing, recorded music and the major U.S. airlines. Gary Hamel
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  • Reason # 4 Belief / trust is lacking
  • People resist change when they do not feel that a particular solution is the best approach to fix the problem.
  • Misunderstandings are most likely to arise when trust is lacking between the person initiating the change and the stakeholders who feel that they will be affected by it. Hayes, John: The Theory and Practice of Change Management, p. 130.
  • On a scale from 1 – 100, how much do you trust?
  • Reason # 5 The person is afraid of extra work pressure
  • It’s too much!
  • When people feel that a certain change requires that they work more than they do now – and already now work under high pressure – they will resist change.
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  • Reason # 6 The person feels too little involved
  • People are more resistant to change if they are not part of the change.
  • To what extent do you involve your girlfriend / boyfriend / spouse when you want to buy a product for your house / apartment?
  • Reason # 7 The person is afraid of failing
  • Sources Fear of failure is one of the root causes of organizations’ inability to adapt.
  • If what they did in the past worked well for them, they may resist changing their behaviour out of fear that they will not achieve as much in the future.
  • Reason # 8 The person is afraid of losing his or her job
  • Change is resisted because it can hurt. When new technologies displace old ones, jobs can be lost, prices can be cut, investments can be wiped out. Rosabeth Moth Kanter
  • When people feel that a business change is a threat to their job security, that the change will eliminate the need for their job, they will resist change.
  • People are more concerned about the risk of loss than they are excited by the prospect of gain.
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  • Reason # 9 The person is afraid of losing power
  • Fear of losing power. # 1 reason why managers resist change
  • Threats to power and influence are one of the most important sources of resistance to change. Hayes, John: The theory and practice of change management, p. 130.
  • There is considerable revenue associated with the current successful model. Careers have been built on its growth. Any change to a new model threatens those revenues and those reputations. Paul Sloane
  • On a scale from 1 to 100, how important is it for you to have power over something and/or someone? Why?
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  • Reason # 10 The person is afraid of not being able to learn what is needed?
  • Change is resisted when it makes people feel stupid. People are worried that their skills will be obsolete, that they will lack the skills that are needed. Sources
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  • Reason # 11 The person thinks that nothing can be changed
  • The most frozen layer in any organization, I think, is the people with experience who think they know best, who believe that nothing can be changed, and who typically exhibit a not-invented-here syndrome. Ravi Kant
  • Followers Proactive people who want change Reactive people who resist change
  • Reason # 12 The person does not want to change
  • Some people, hesitant to try new things, express an unwillingness to learn something new. They may say, ”I already know what I need to know.”
  • On a scale from 1 to 100, how much do you want to change?
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