Overcoming Resistance to Change: How to Lead in Rapidly Evolving Times

Organizational change is a popular topic and constant reality in the workplace. Learn how to navigate resistance to change and lead teams during these times.

Trees with orange, yellow and red leaves

Heraclitus had it right more than 1500 years ago. The Greek philosopher stated: “Change is the only constant in life.” Who knew he was so prescient about organizational change in the 21st century?

Change is happening in your organization, and in many cases it faces great resistance. Every month, new initiatives and projects are launched to improve performance, achieve success measures, and enhance your competitive advantage. Organizational change is a process in which an organization optimizes performance as it works toward its ideal state, as a reaction to an ever-changing environment, or in response to a crisis. Frequently, it is triggered by a strong leader with a new vision for the future.

Leading in times of change constitutes one part strategy, one part communication, and about 10 parts psychology. In the one-day professional development workshop, Overcoming Resistance to Change,” we help organizational leaders at the executive and managerial levels understand how to wrestle order from the chaos that change can cause.

Most successful change management pivots on a deep understanding of whether the change is based on tasks, relationships, or the very identities of the individuals involved. For example, if you ask a customer service representative who is very good at troubleshooting problems and handling customer questions to suddenly begin selling services to customers, you have fundamentally changed their identity. They are no longer a customer rep. They have become a sales person, and many people find that a difficult or impossible psychological transition to make.

In the one-day program, participants learn how to identify barriers to change, how to select the best communication strategies to lead their work teams through change, and how to gauge the organization’s readiness for change.

According to David Leonard and Claude Coltea, researchers with the Gallup organization, 70% of all change initiatives fail because change agents overlook the role that front-line managers play in the success of the initiatives.

In many cases, the managers who are being tasked with implementing change programs are not ready themselves. They have not had the opportunity to digest the real dynamics, to understand the task-relationship-identity elements, or to select an optimal communication plan. All they are feeling is that change is, indeed, the only constant in life.

Register for the upcoming session of the live virtual Leadership Live One-Day Workshop: Overcoming Resistance to Change on Dec. 9 to learn how best to navigate organizational change at the individual and team levels.

Complete five workshops and receive two hours of one-on-one professional coaching in the new KU Professional Leadership Certificate

About the Author

Lee C. Stuart, D.B.A., is the leadership instructor at the KU Edwards Campus. He develops and delivers training on a variety of leadership, management and communications topics for working professionals. He combines years of experience as an executive in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors with the latest in scholarly thought on leadership.

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