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How To Communicate With Your Team When They Resist Change

CEO at Reputation House. Over 15 years in business growth hacking and reputation management. Business angel and Investor Relations.
As someone experienced in guiding businesses globally, I've realized that change often scares team members. It's natural to feel uneasy when faced with something new. But here's the thing: if your company avoids change, it invites problems. So, how do you deal with resistance to change?

The first step is communication. When you notice resistance or opposition to changes at work, talk about it. One effective communication technique is to be understanding, like a caring parent, and listen to your employees' worries and fears about the changes happening.

Ask "Why?" a few times during discussions. It helps uncover the core issues causing resistance. Sometimes, it shows that the problem isn't as big as it seems. By answering these "whys," employees can understand the problem better and overcome their fears.

I've found two main types of resistance: comfort-based and benefit-based. Comfort-based resistance happens when employees fear leaving their comfort zones. They worry that changes might disrupt how things usually work.

For instance, imagine a company changing how its sales team operates. Some employees might worry about losing their familiar roles or responsibilities.

Benefit-based resistance occurs when changes threaten someone's power or financial gains, usually among higher-ups like managers. They might resist changes that challenge their authority or impact their benefits.

In my experience, a company's progress depends on setting clear objectives and results (OKRs). It's better than just tracking performance. OKRs motivate employees and drive overall company growth.

But introducing OKRs can be tough. Many managers rush without proper planning, which rarely leads to success. It's crucial to communicate well and understand why there's resistance to change.

To introduce OKRs effectively, three roles are essential: the visionary, the manager, and the preacher. The visionary leads OKR implementation, the manager handles the details, and the preacher helps employees understand and embrace the new system.

Communication is vital. Knowing when and how to talk to your team helps resolve concerns and resistance to change. Sometimes, a simple conversation can make a big difference in improving your business.