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If you want your business to succeed, you know that it should be adjusted as much as possible. If you want to float, you need to introduce new products, make operational changes and adapt to new competitors. However, if there is significant resistance to change within your partners or within your team, it may be difficult for you to identify and accept these changes.
What tools do you have to deal with resistance to change and keep your business as agile as possible?
Prevention and change of organizational inertia
Resistance to change manifests itself in various forms. Sometimes, a single person is responsible for blocking a potential development because they are afraid of change or uncomfortable with the possibility of doing something different.
Other times, the two people in charge of the decision cannot agree on what to do. Yet at other times, the opportunity for change never presents itself because the company is not looking for new ways to adapt.
However, as it turns out, organizational inertia will prevent your business from achieving its true potential. So what can you do about it?
Establish a vibrant workplace culture
One of your first goals is to establish a vibrant workplace culture. Introduce and strengthen the cultural norms and values needed to give your employees an agile mindset. The easiest way to do this is to add ideas like flexibility and versatility to your company’s core values. Of course, if you want to see a practical benefit from these additions, you need to take things one step further and deliberately hire people who seem flexible and willing to adapt.
Changing your organizational culture is a process that takes time, and ironically, resistance to change can get in your way here. If you are trying to transform an already established business culture, be patient.
Related: To fight resistance, you need to change your mindset
The bureaucracy is broken
You can break the bureaucratic structure that hurts your business and show more agility. Bureaucracy is an infrastructure that is designed to reduce risk, so it has some advantages. However, many business owners eventually find that bureaucratic processes simply waste time and create a strong bias to maintain stability.
Here are some ways you can break the bureaucracy:
Make quick decisions. Find a way to make quick decisions. Decide now, instead of submitting each decision to a committee or taking a few weeks to evaluate possible plans. Obviously, high-stakes decisions shouldn’t be made emotionally, but they don’t require weeks or months of negotiation.
Streamline the workflow. Take a look at the workflow of your internal company and see if you can make them flow faster and less dependent on individuals. Instead of running every decision up to the flagpole, or sending plans to different departments, can you bridge the gap between an idea and a functional change?
Empower people. Consider empowering individuals at the ground level to make more decisions and change autonomously. Some organizations never change significantly because decision-making is extremely limited, and every decision has to go to the top before it can be approved. Organizations whose employees have more independence and autonomy tend to be much more agile.
Familiarity and discomfort create acceptable rules
One of the biggest root causes of organizational inertia is status quo bias, a cognitive distortion baked into human nature that makes us uncomfortable with something fancy or unfamiliar. You can’t change people’s personality or normal disposition, but you can make your workforce more comfortable in unfamiliar situations by introducing them more often to unfamiliar situations. If everyone in your team is forced to face something new or unexpected on a daily basis, they will feel much more comfortable with larger and more significant changes in the workplace environment.
Set an example
Set an example for the rest of your team. If you follow the same routine every day and you refuse to change, your staff members will not be motivated to accept unfamiliar ideas or change the way they work. On the other hand, if you are constantly trying new things and you are open minded to all kinds of new ideas, your team will be much more open to change.
Provide individual feedback
If there are people in your group who are particularly resistant to change or unwilling to adapt, talk to them. Sometimes, providing personal feedback helps one to change one’s mind or to be more open about possible changes in the future.
Related: Stop complaining and change your mindset to get rich
Preventing change is something that every business has to deal with, no matter how agile their plans are in the beginning or how much bureaucracy they have to fight. However, with the right set of strategies and adequate determination, you can overcome the resistance to change in your organization and pave the way for greater agility.