Managing Resistance to Change

  • • Resistance to change is a deep-seated complex issue that should be addressed at the beginning of the project. Resistance is not always about the project. You must understand the organization and the operational issues impacting the business. Make sure to select the right time to suggest the project - think both tactically and strategically.
  • • Consider the types of resistance associated with the project. Employees might be cynical of the project because they have seen other projects that have failed or did not live up to the promoted expectations. Some employees might distrust the organization's leaders because of labor issues or perceived problems with pay and benefits. The leaders might doubt the project and offer resistance because it is safer to resist the project than to take a chance on the project failing or changing a dynamic that is beneficial to the leader.
  • • The empowerment of the workforce is critical to successful change. Promote involvement, creativity, seek ideas (i.e., comments and feedback) from the employees, and recognize achievements. Develop the "vested interest" concept of building support for the project.
  • • Effective change is attributable to the employees, not the managers. Managers provide the resources, structure, and guidance throughout the change initiative. However, the employees must willingly participate in the change to see success.
  • • Recognize the feedback from employees that help improve the change initiative. Feedback is a great way to build the involvement of employees and show that they are essential to the success of the project/program. The manager should spread the credit for success - the manager is not the key component for success; the employees are the linchpin for success.

Author's Note: While considering the root causes for resistance to change, consider how to work with those resisting. A project involving the use of the IT backbone of the organization may create concerns for IT professionals. Work with them to resolve issues before they become problems. Identify the existing IT protocols for cabling, switch management, security measures, and work with the owners of the IT network so that minor issues never become problems. Creating a partnership of equals allows for the building of trust that will pay dividends in the current project and future projects.

Practical Plans

  • • Organizational projects require various plans to gain support and approval to proceed. Plans allow the organizers to demonstrate the organization of the project - plans are critical to the success of the project.
  • • Make sure to use the existing organizational project structure and approaches. Using existing approaches will allow the leaders to understand and feel more comfortable with the project. While the project might be innovative and transformational, try to use a known means to achieve the project goals.
  • • Plans based on reliable project management approaches (e.g., the Project Management Institute Body of Knowledge Standard) are the best ways to achieve project goals. Projects must have established management structures of performance and authority, clear objectives, established and available resources, an approved budget that is reasonable, a communication plan that is associated with the change management plan, and a thorough project plan.
  • • Selecting the right people for the project is critical to success. The people in the organization will determine the success of the change (i.e., the project), and they should be representative of the teams involved in the change.
  • • It is also wise to consider the risks associated with the project. Identifying the risks at the beginning of the project will allow the team to address and mitigate the risks early in the planning process.

Author's Note: A video surveillance system has numerous complex issues to address early in the planning stage. For instance, if a PTZ camera is receiving power from the network, it is vital to verify that the power is sufficient to control and hold the programming of the camera. Local power for remote cameras might be necessary. Work with the project team to identify and resolve potential issues. The facilities management team could offer considerable assistance with power discussions - develop a team and allow them to become involved in a practical and meaningful way.

Momentum through Communication

  • • Communication is the most critical aspect of any project because everything is dependent upon effective communication. It is necessary to develop a good communication plan that augments the change management plan.
  • • Maintaining a sense of urgency and flow of activities keeps the work progressing. Maintaining the momentum of the project is essential to avoid stoppages or people losing interest in the project - plan for the continuation of the initiative and the reenergizing of the people and the activities.
  • • Keep a steady flow of energy going into the initiative so that the activities maintain forward momentum.
  • • Ensure to establish and maintain regular updates to management and the organization. The promotion of the project through organizational updates reminds people that the project is managed and conducted by professionals. It is necessary to keep the change initiative in organizational awareness.
  • • It is wise to have a communication strategy that is grounded in a marketing perspective.

Author's Note: Consider developing a multimedia approach to communicating information. Video surveillance systems are typically private and protected to avoid breaching privacy concerns. While the employees need to understand that the security department will maintain that privacy, some examples can be provided to help educate the employees on the capabilities of the system. For instance, work with the equipment installer to obtain demonstrations of the power of the cameras to capture people in the parking lot, pretending to vandalize cars. Show the resolution capabilities of the camera from several distances. Make sure to express the purpose of the video system and how it protects the people and the property associated with the organization. It is also an excellent opportunity to correct some of the fallacies generated from television and the cinema concerning video systems.

Institutionalization of the Initiative

  • • When the project is completed, there is often an expectation that the maintenance of the program is necessary to keep the work progressing.
  • • Regular management reports on the program and periodic updates to the organization on the critical value that is generated by the program is necessary to remind people that the change initiative produced tangible results benefiting the organization.
  • • A useful way to view the change process is a cycle of movement from planning through evaluation with iterative change and continuous improvement as the constants.

Author's Note: IT technology is an ever-changing product that must remain current to continue to provide the promoted value. Make sure that leadership understands before the project begins that a maintenance program is essential to the success of the system. Once the system is operational, everyone will have an expectation of the capabilities of the system. Hopefully, those expectations are grounded in reality. Make sure that people understand the actual capabilities of the video system before the system goes live. Future projects will depend on the success of the current project.

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