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The Biggest Mistake Managers Make When Implementing Change

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

As George unfolded his story, I could definitely relate. George was getting strong resistance from a couple of people. It seemed ridiculous to him because the project made perfect sense. Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?

George is a mid-level IT Director in a large company. He’s responsible for a very important project that will impact the entire organization. He has been working with the executive team and an outside consultant for the past six months. They’ve done all the due diligence. They’ve selected the right software. How could people not trust him to make the best decision? George was stuck on “Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?”  

​It’s one thing to embrace change for yourself - it’s quite another to get everyone else to buy in!

When we’re faced with a change, the initial reaction, whether we’re aware of it or not, is typically to think “what’s in it for me.”  This isn’t necessarily negative - it’s actually quite normal. We want to understand the “why” behind the change and how it impacts us.

In some cases, if we’ve had too much change at once, our threshold for change may be about to break. That’s when people skip right over the “what’s in it for me” and go immediately to resisting the change.

And then there’s the possibility that egos are in play and because people weren’t involved in the decision, and the change feels like it was thrust upon them, they can’t even see the project for what it really is.

While there are other reasons for resistance to change, most boil down to the lack of acceptance from an emotional perspective. The biggest mistake managers make when implementing change is being so focused on the quality of the change initiative that they forget about the people side.

The question becomes, then, how do we get our people to embrace change?

George was completely immersed in the project much earlier than anyone else even knew about it. There was no doubt to him and the executive team that they had selected the best solution. The quality of the change initiative was not the issue. George, the executive team, and the consultant neglected to consider the change process.

They didn’t think about the time it might take for others to understand and embrace it. They didn’t consider the other changes people might be going through, at work and in their personal lives. They didn’t respect the interpersonal dynamics of relationships and egos. Just imagine how much more efficiently and effectively this project could have been implemented!

We'll be wrapping up this series with a FREE webinar on October 4th, 2017 at 2pm: How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change. There will be time for a live FAQ at the end - come prepared!

And stay tuned next week for further discussion on managing change.



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