Why Is Creating Organizational Change Difficult?

Most people are apprehensive of things they are unfamiliar with – especially if the idea of loss is implied. Within an organization, this can translate into overcoming the fear of change. Employees become concerned about whether they are equipped to function in the prospective new environment. Fear of job loss, added responsibilities, change of position, etc. can cause negative reactions that affect current operations. Senior management may question whether or not they have the right structures, tools and manpower to execute the change.

It is human nature to hold on to what we perceive as familiar over what we perceive as unfamiliar. The psychological security of a prevailing culture creates an unyielding bond with “the way things are”. There is an implied belief that the current way is successful and the potentially new way does not guarantee success – hence, the status quo bias.

There may be some senior managers that have taken the time to develop a team that is currently performing at a high level. They know the behavioral pattern of those within their team. This pattern can shift because individuals react differently to change. There are those that resist the change - and go as far as to push against it. And then there are those that accept that change is inevitable but may adopt a passive (aggressive) rather than supportive attitude towards it.

Those within your organization whose lives will be affected by the change need to understand the change and the potential benefits of the change. The potential for success of implementing change depends upon the support at all levels of the organization. Therefore, if there is a perception that things are changing around them and there has been no communication about these changes – there will likely be a disruption to the exiting system before the implementation has even started.

When looking at the system of your organization as a whole, it becomes evident that within each department not only does the human reaction to change need to be considered, but also how the existing schedules, processes and tools can be adapted accordingly and willingly without a detrimental effect to current operations.

Patrick Powers

Patrick Powers is a Client Partner at Evolve Partners with 18+ years of hands-on Organizational Transformation and Leadership Development experience. He  is an accomplished practitioner in the application of Lean Thinking as well as a Change Agent whose in-depth expertise is sought to effect lasting results both individually and in team-based environments to drive Operational Excellence.