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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Overcoming Barriers To Change

To thrive, companies not only must identify the right strategy, but also must communicate it quickly and effectively so it reaches all levels of the organization.

However, we all know that personal and cultural factors are likely to get in the way of strategy execution.

Why? Human factors: "We don't always do what we know we should."

Knowledge of the strategy alone does not motivate action and cause execution. Employees’ emotions and habits can always cause resistance.

Consider these four strategies to overcome the emotional and cultural challenges of achieving strategic change in your organization:

  1. Employees must be confronted with the need for change. Bring them face to face with the external and internal pressures to change. Team members are more likely to participate in a change initiative if they understand how their work contributes to the company’s success.
  2. Converted some into “change champions." Team members who “own” and drive the change can serve as role models.
  3. Manage employee feelings. Help team members deal with their emotional reactions to change and decide whether they can thrive in the new environment. Listen, listen and listen some more to determine root causes for their feelings.
  4. Support the change with new tools and systems. Use incentives, recognition programs, measurement tools, monitor progress for change - all of which support the adoption of change.

(Adapted from a Strategy+Business article Four Antidotes to Change Resistance)

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