Dealing with the Change Curve

ChangeCurveWhen you implement a new technology platform some people will be on board and excited at the prospect of a new and usable product, other will be worried that their knowledge and skills will become redundant and the new product will cause problems, slow things down and make their life more difficult.

It is normal to find more of the latter than the former in any business. So how do you deal with the problems caused by the change curve?

It is important first to understand the reasons people are resistant to change:

  • The change will reduce my power base!
  • I will not let the center tell  me how to run my business!
  • What does this mean for me/my career path?
  • How will this affect my ability to influence?
  • Who will win from this?
  • I do not believe the change will actually improve performance!
  • How will this work?
  • I can not see how the savings will be made!
  • Is this “doable”?
  • How does this affect the people/things I care about?
  • Will we still be true to our values?
  • I’m not supporting anything developed by them which I haven’t contributed to!

How do you combat these?

Talk to your stakeholders find out who is most likely to be a naysayer and get them involved early. Rumors and bad opinions spread fast so getting those that are most likely to complain to feed into the project early is good.

Find out what peoples worries are, perhaps using a social platform like Yammer and give good quality reasons to dispel them.

Once you have the worries set up discussion groups with other more engaged end users on your social platform, bringing the two groups together in open discussion can be useful to win over those who are no quite as engaged as others.

Open conversation is key to show those who are most concerned by the change the inherent benefits.  Remember you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but if you can please most of them you are more likely to succeed.