Increase ownership for change!

“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!  – Peter Senge

Over the last couple decades, I’ve worked with many leadership groups going through small  and large-scale change efforts. In the process, I have also helped them explore their own attitudes towards change.  What is often very clear is that people are always more comfortable with change efforts  if they are involved in designing the change or are responsible for implementing it. It is much more scary to be on the receiving end of change, to have to adapt to changing processes or roles, without having a say in them.

In fact, according to a 2007 benchmarking study on best practices in change management, employee resistance to change is often due to the following factors:

  • Lack of understanding of why the change is happening and “What’s in it for me?” or “WIIFM”
  • Loss of control and ownership of work processes
  • Fear of the future state, including concerns over job security

One method of addressing these issues is to increase employee involvement in the change by recruiting employees to serve on implementation teams and to increase ownership by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and levels of authority for each member of the team.

As Todd outlined in his “Who’s on first” blog: “Helping your teams discuss and document accountability, decision-rights, and roles allows cross-functional teams to understand each other better and take action.” He cited the RACI  tool, which is a simple matrix that can help  provide structure in clarifying roles, responsibilities and levels of authority.

If you haven’t checked it out yet and you have a complex change project with multiple stakeholders and team members, I’d encourage you to give it a try. It just might help you on the road to increasing ownership for change and reducing resistance.

Anita Rios

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