SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 16, April 23, 2009

Simple Solutions for Effecting Change in Your Organization

In “Change Management,” the final segment of the 7-part SEMA Recession Survival Series, presenter Peter de Jager identifies solutions to overcoming the challenges of implementing the changes necessary to move your company forward.

De Jager states that the number one reason why change fails in an organization is that it’s mandated from above, without taking the realities of the workfloor, counter and service desk into account.

“The vast majority of what we call resistance to change that we see in our organizations has absolutely nothing to do with the change and everything to do with the manner in which management is trying to bring that change about,” says de Jager.

De Jager explains that the reason why people are resistant to change is that they do not like losing control. “[They] figure it is management’s responsibility to respond to it,” he says. “It isn’t [their] problem.”

In order to overcome this resistance to change, de Jager states that you must make it your team's problem by helping them understand what is going on and requesting their input.

“If you want to get someone involved with a change, help them understand the problem and then ask them a question,” he says. “What do you think we should do about that? The amazing thing is that if you ask anybody a question about a problem, 90% of the time they will jump in with an opinion. At the very least, it helps them understand that there is a problem that needs a solution, even if they don’t have the answer.”

De Jager also identifies the difficulty of presenting change when there have been previous failed attempts at doing so. He stresses that the first step to bypass this stumbling block is to regain trust.

“What you have to do is start slow,” he says. “Create a couple of incremental changes. Get those fully under your belt. Get everybody involved. And once they’ve had one success under their belt, now you try it again, and then you can try for a third and a fourth.”

He also reveals the importance of understanding the complexities of people's reactions to change. De Jager states that a team member who resists a new accounting system may quit in frustration and end up at another company that uses that new accounting system.

"If we, as managers and supervisors, can learn the lessons of change and why we resist change and why we embrace them, then we can make change in our organizations a lot better, a lot easier than we ever imagined," says de Jager. "We need to understand, as managers, why exactly do people resist."

To access a complete audio download of this presentation and the SEMA Webinar archives, visit http://meridian.sema.org and then click on “Course Catalog.” Next, enter a search term for the specific webinar or click on “Search” to browse all webinar archives. If you are not already signed in, then you will be prompted to do so.

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