Why do we resist change? What does this mean in our regulated environment?
Ever wondered why the same errors happen in your regulated facility?
Or why the most experienced operators continue to make the same mistakes?
Do you feel that repeated training and development sessions are failing to build lasting change and develop a quality foundation within your organisation?
I am not referring to process changes driven through your QA Change Control procedures, rather business, process or cultural change initiatives that need to be implemented across an entire organisation and need lasting changes of behaviour.
Traditionally, new corporate messages or organisation changes have been dictated at the arrival of senior management in the cafeteria. There was a level of expectation that because senior management said so, you will do so.
If only change was that simple. In my experience, the traditional top-down approach does not lead to successful change initiatives, even if it’s coupled with ‘it’s an FDA or TGA requirement.’. In fact, depending on the culture of an organisation and its appetite for change, there may be some resistance.
There’s often a perception that the people driving change lack understanding of ‘what really happens,’ whilst the people expected to deliver the change are often suffering ‘change fatigue’ and have ‘seen it all before and it didn’t work then’.
What factors contribute to change resistance?
Change fatigue – that develops when there are too many new or shifting changes, which require employees to constantly adapt and never allow them a sense of completion or achievement
Organisational barriers – that hamper efforts to comply with a change
Fear – because where routine provides comfort and security, change brings a fear of the unknown
Misunderstanding – due to inappropriate, inadequate or inaccurate communication
Disagreement – over the need for, or approach to, a change, particularly if staff have not been consulted
Distrust – if there is a poor relationship between staff and managers
Self-interest – when resistance is due to the impact on an individual’s job, reputation/status or income
So what can we do to overcome resistance to change? Do we need to adopt a methodology that other industries have been using for over 20 years – Organisational Change Management?
‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change‘ – Charles Darwin
Updated 02 November 2012 – in response to ‘What would OCM look like in practical terms?’
Overcoming resistance to change
If change is inevitable then organisations need to develop methodology and organisational competency to help their teams not just survive change but understand that adapting to change is part of ‘business as usual’.
To smooth the path to successful change management, a layered approach is needed.
Organisation Change Management (OCM) is a systematic, formalised framework through which changes to business process, organisational structure or company culture can be managed. It has a focus on minimising resistance to change by setting expectations, communicating effectively and reacting proactively to issues.
- developing multiple communication strategies to ensure all stakeholders are reached
- identifying everyone affected by the change and targeting your communication accordingly
- understanding motivation and that it is different for everyone
- empowering people and including them in the discussions on how the change can best be implemented and sustained
‘If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself‘ – Henry Ford
OCM as a competency
Establishing OCM as a competency within your organisation means establishing processes and responsibilities to ensure that significant changes are implemented in a controlled and systematic manner. Change agents are pivotal to success, so use your knowledge of the organisation to identify and choose these people considering that hierarchy may mean very little when it comes to influencing others.
Coordinating OCM needs to be as methodological as running a project, including:
- establishing and developing an OCM team
- developing standardised OCM templates
- identifying the stakeholders for every change and establishing their unique requirements
- developing communication and delivery plans
- identifying training needs
- establish and document the metrics
‘Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss out.‘ – Lee Iacocca
You might also be interested in the following blog: People Development and Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Learning.