One day, our management decided to institute changes on working hours in the store as part of a new model store blueprint. The policy altered each worker's start and finish times, and break times were shortened to half an hour. For those working more than eight hours, an hour's break was allowed. We knew that most of the staff would react negatively to the proposal, and that resistance had been building up in many of them. I was given a tight deadline to implement the change in my store. The task was daunting, but I was confident because I had the tools needed to plan and execute the change, ready to confront and solve most of the problems that would arise. What were those tools, how did I use them, and why
Lou V. Gerstner, who as IBM CEO saved the company at a time of crisis, found that "changing the attitudes and behaviour of people is very hard to accomplish. You can't simply give speeches, write a new credoand declare that people have to change. What managers can do is create the conditions for transformation. You provide incentives. You have to trust. In the end, the workers themselves decide to change" (Gerstner, 2002). Knowing why people resist change is the first step to help them change.
Reflecting on my experiences, I know three main reasons why people resist ch...
n reasons why people resist change: uncertainty makes them nervous and afraid, they do not see how change can be good for them, and coping with change is inconvenient because it requires effort. Equipped with this knowledge, I can help people change by making a plan to deal with each of these reasons.
First, I eliminated uncertainty through communication, helping the workers build up their trust in management through me by discussing with the workers the reasons behind the policy decision, like better efficiency, increased sales, and more satisfied customers.
Second, I showed the workers how the changes will benefit them, and that despite the trade-offs they will come out ahead. I showed them how the new system will improve the quality of service, bring down costs, and increase profits, allowing the company to gain over our competitors. They complained that shorter breaks were bad for them, but I told them that unless we work harder together as a team (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993), we would all lose our jobs. And besides, the new store layout would make our work more convenient and the shopping experience relaxing, so we can take shorter breaks.
Third, I helped design a training plan with our Human Resource Department based on strategies of experiential (Kolb, 1984; Honey and Mumford, 1986) and situated learning to form a community of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991) from the different teams I formed among my workers (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993). Knowing all these helped me offer much input to the training plan combining theoretical learning, skills upgrading, on-the-job training, and the use of other competent workers in our organisation. My goal was to help make the change process as enjoyable and practical as possible for our workers.
All these were made