The following seven ways can irritate and alienate your managers and stakeholders, as well as increasing their resistance to proposed changes:
- Provide information to all staff about an upcoming change via a weekly/monthly newsletter without first letting managers know what is happening.
Probable impact: This may negatively impact their management status and sense of being valued as a leader, especially when their staff ask about the change before they have had a chance to find out about it themselves.
- Organise a focus group or meeting for selected managers regarding a change, but don’t let the other managers know about it or say how the focus group was selected.
Probable impact: Those left out will find out about the meeting – of course – and questions will be asked about the purpose of the meeting and why they were not included.
- Spend a lot of time engaging with your internal ‘customers’/key stakeholders about a proposed change, but – whatever you do! – don’t engage with your own service/departmental managers and staff.
Likely impact: Your managers will feel aggrieved, disempowered and disengaged, and – especially if they have specialist expertise – may start looking to move on from your organisation.
- Forget or don’t make the effort to engage with or inform your key external customers/stakeholders during the planning and design phase of your change.
Possible impact: You miss an opportunity to show loyalty and appreciation to people who are crucial to the success of your business. They will feel disengaged and unvalued, and instead of appreciating the opportunity to have in-put and be heard, may come back to bite you very hard and vocally, or vote with their feet – especially if the changes impact the delivery of services to them as a group.
- Don’t make the effort to provide your leader/managers with specific change management development and tools. Just expect them to be experts in change management.
Almost certain impact: They will not be able to fulfil their key roles during the change initiative. They will feel unmotivated, undervalued and stressed when you expect them to exhibit skills that you have not bothered to help them learn.
- Provide no visible, safe way for leader/managers to provide input and feedback to the project team or sponsor of the change. Then target those managers who voice contrarian opinions to a proposed change so that they get labelled as trouble-makers and resistant to the change.
100% certain impact: Leader/managers will be discouraged from providing authentic input in case they are seen as being resistant with flow-on disengagement by their team members, and – inevitably – less effective change.
- Omit to provide your leader/managers with a clear, concise overview of the ‘purpose’ of the change initiative; what in ‘particular’ will be changing and not changing – especially in regard to the key elements of people’s roles; and what groups of ‘people’ will be impacted or not in scope. Then don’t give them the reasons for the change and/or proposed benefits or ‘payoffs’ both from an individual and an organisational perspective.
100% certain impact: Leader/managers will not be able to fulfil their roles as advocates or leaders of the change. They will feel that their status has been impacted and they may show resistance to the change that will – in all likelihood – be mirrored by their teams.