“If Everyone Has Gone Through Change, Why Aren’t We Changing?”
As a change management speaker and change management breakout session speaker my greatest passion is to help organizations manage change, and respond to change in challenging times. I think we would all agree that as a society, in the past decade, nothing has changed us as much as COVID.
Clearly, we can always point to the rise of Facebook users, YouTube uploads, the appearance of Bitcoin, the increase in industrial robots, the rise of EVs, increases of Wikipedia files and even climate change, but in terms of cataclysmic events, nothing shifted a hundred paradigms like the minute viral particle of debatable origins.
As a change management speaker, I am of course intensely aware of societal changes. We were long overdue for changes addressing gender, diversity, inclusion and greater access to what we call “The American Dream.”
Yet I would argue in-person or by video-conferencing (which was also an exploding trend) that COVID accelerated the need to change the status quo. However, there is still resistance.
Why Are We Resistant?
In my talks on change management, it is a given that no matter the corporation, organization or trade association, there will be a resistance to change. We hear it in employee disapproval of management, fault-finding, sarcasm, disagreement, lack of follow-through and even missed meetings. In extreme cases, I have heard of sabotage, bullying and even anonymous “letters to editors, etc.”
According to Human Resources expert Susan Healthfield (March 1, 2021) “When employees are poorly introduced to changes that affect how they work, especially when they don’t see the need for the changes, they may be resistant. They may also experience resistance when they haven’t been involved in the decision-making process.”
There is also a huge difference between logical, strategic change based on deep-felt, long-term needs and whimsical changes (let’s try this today and we’ll see where it takes us tomorrow).
Despite the massive changes that COVID inflicted upon all of us, unless the management of that change is properly handled, all it will ultimately create is resistance.
When we were mostly locked down, organizations in certain sectors found themselves in sharp divide; for example, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, transportation and banking. There was one group who was “in the trenches,” so to speak, and others who were safely socially distanced and relatively safe. Quite often, the rapid changes endorsed by those given the luxury of videoconferencing, were all too capricious in not being inclusive, logical and strategic.
Now, with the advent of vaccines, hybrid workplace modeling, and a virtual V-shaped recovery in some industries, change may continue unabated and still without consultation of those significantly affected.
Don’t Talk Inclusion (without being inclusive)
In this particular case, I am referring to resistance occurring as the result of organizations or even associations boasting of inclusion as in “we are all one-big happy family,” while it is obvious that changes have brought about dissension and uncertainty.
Change, whether needing a corporate buy-in of a merger or several new products on new equipment, cannot be taken lightly. There is a human factor that must be addressed.
A major change that is presently occurring are millions of people who would rather not work, than to go back to their old jobs. As a change management speaker, I shake my head at those who are attributing that trend solely to “laziness,” or “spoiled employees,” or worse, to people taking advantage of the system. I believe there are other factors in play; of employees who have been repeatedly disregarded, voiceless and ignored.
To not include that understanding of people in the change conversation is to not see the downside of change when employees are neither seen nor heard.
Book Mike Hourigan, Change Management Keynote and Change Breakout Session Speaker today, for a virtual or in-person presentation. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.