Resistance to change is an old problem

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 1:02 PM
The warning signs were everywhere.  But like a bull facing a red flag I charged forward because I can’t resist a challenge, or revenue for that matter!  The small nonprofit organization, funded by city tax dollars, indicted that they were looking for a marketing change.  But I suspected the odds of success were a long shot.
Resistance to change, by executives and workers alike, is considered a central problem of most organizations.  And LinkedIn provided plenty of evidence on why a social change initiative would be difficult.  The CEO did not have a profile and neither did the head of HR.  A lead HR person without a social profile; I asked myself, how was that even possible in today’s networking economy?  In fact, he required me to provide references that weren’t on my LinkedIn profile.  I almost considered faxing them to him because his fax number was still displayed on his business card.  Finally, there were no social employee advocates I could look to for support.  It was as if their culture took pride in staying off the social grid.
Their LinkedIn company page, as well as their Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel and all other social platforms was actually still under control of individuals outside of their organization.  By that I mean the profile admin (owner) was either a former employee or former agency employee that had initially set up the profile for them.  It was obvious they did not think of their social capital as a strategic asset and that a social media policy and procedures process was the farthest thing from their mind.
In highly micromanaged organizations, were change agents are often considered a threat, the probability of new ideas or change initiatives thriving is not great.  In fact, I felt like a gym owner who had just sold a membership to someone who would never come in and would eventually churn.  You receive short-term revenue, but it crushes your spirit when you realize the client is in total disregard their own well-being.  And at this point I was only into the second day of my engagement.
There have not been any recent postings or activity.  Dead silence since my exit.  Here are my own observations from the experience:
1. Executives must lead by example. The surest way to kill a change initiative is for management to continue old behaviors.

2. Don’t waste your time and budget.  If you really don’t want to change, don’t.  No, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.  But the inconsistent behavior your employee’s are observing is destroying your credibility whether you want to admit it or not.

3. Learn to let go.  Chances are your resistance to change is grounded in fear and so you micromanage every detail.  You fear losing control of situations you were never really in control of.  Letting go is easier said than done.  But let go anyways.

Categories: Leadership