Change detractors are the active agents that are purposely working against your change efforts. They either do not agree with the proposed change or they believe the change will have a negative impact upon them. There are numerous ways to negatively impact a change effort and you will be better off if you know how to spot them.
Our team took votes on our top change detractors.
5. The Aggressive. These folks candidly discuss on how they do not agree with the proposed change and that they will not support it. This is the best type of detractor, there are no games and mystery which opens up the door to better dialogue.
4. The Non-Participator. These are the the individuals that outwardly agree with the change effort, but it is lower on their priority list. This adds increased difficulty in advancing the effort.
3. The Disengaged Champion. This is the initiator of the change who prefers to outsource the effort of implementation. While they want the change to occur, they have trouble prioritizing it over their normal schedule.
2. The Passive Aggressive. This is the detractor that will agree in public to the change and even accept actions to implement the change, while never having any intention to help. These are the folks that struggle with direct conversations and are very dangerous during change efforts as they can derail efforts without warning.
1. The Change Terrorist. Similar to the Passive Aggressive, you will never see or hear their issues with the change. Unique to the terrorist though is that they will take efforts to undermine the change effort to ensure it doesn’t happen. These actions are typically subtle to the point where you will never see them happen until after they occur.
Managing change is tough, but part of the problem is that there is little agreement on what factors most influence transformation initiatives. Ask five executives to name the one factor critical for the success of these programs, and you’ll probably get five different answers. That’s because each manager looks at an initiative from his or her viewpoint and, based on personal experience, focuses on different success factors. The experts, too, offer different perspectives. A recent search on Amazon.com for books on “change and management” turned up 6,153 titles, each with a distinct take on the topic. Those ideas have a lot to offer, but taken together, they force companies to tackle many priorities simultaneously, which spreads resources and skills thin. Moreover, executives use different approaches in different parts of the organization, which compounds the turmoil that usually accompanies change.
In recent years, many change management gurus have focused on soft issues, such as culture, leadership, and motivation. Such elements are important for success, but managing these aspects alone isn’t sufficient to implement transformation projects. Soft factors don’t directly influence the outcomes of many change programs. For instance, visionary leadership is often vital for transformation projects, but not always. The same can be said about communication with employees. Moreover, it isn’t easy to change attitudes or relationships; they’re deeply ingrained in organizations and people. And although changes in, say, culture or motivation levels can be indirectly gauged through surveys and interviews, it’s tough to get reliable data on soft factors.
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