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Managing Resistance Tips

  1. Expect Res​istance.  ​When planning for the change, be ready for the natural reaction that all humans have to change. Change is hard. Be prepared. As a leader, you will be responsible for providing the reassurance to staff that the change is for the better. 
  2. Allow your staff to have a voice: One of the most effective ways to deflate fear is to talk through it. Site visits, surveys, town halls and dozens of other techniques can be useful for this.
  3. Listen: Be willing to hear the legitimate (and not so legitimate) concerns of stakeholders.  Sometimes, listening to a person talk through the fear is enough to help them diffuse it.
  4. Still finding staff are resisting? Identify the root cause: There will usually be patterns to the resistance.  For example, if most of the practice is fine with the move to a new technology tool, but one division is off the charts with resistance, you may want to dig deeper into that part of the org chart. 
  5. Target concerns: Create ways to help people through the very specific concerns they have.  It can be helpful to brainstorm targeted answers to the most fear-laden, most complex and most common questions that stakeholders have.  Capture them as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) or cover them with training.
  6. Be forthcoming: If the new way of doing things involves giving something up that the stakeholders are very fond of, provide a good alternative or at least bring an acknowledgement to the adversary change. 
  7. Implement change in a way that is conducive to staff: Look for ways to ease staff into the change.  Set a solid date for when the change will be fully integrated, while accounting for a period of transition. Consider having a pilot group of engaged early adopters go first. Also, consider a phased roll-out of the change if it can be done without sacrificing the project's goals. 
  8. Obtain feedback:  Don't believe for a minute that everyone's OK with your change just because they aren't vocally complaining.  In many cases, people avoid even thinking about your change until they absolutely have to. Their resistance may only surface after their first exposure to the change – even if you've been working on it for months.  When things are going poorly, you will typically hear more feedback than you want. When they are going well, you will potentially hear very little feedback. When people haven't seen enough or done enough to form an opinion, you will almost certainly hear nothing. In any case, you should push for data rather than wait for it.

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