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Change happens…when you manage it

May 29, 2014

This is the second of a two-part series on change.—Ed.

In my last post, I explained how resistance is a normal and natural response to change, whether the change is perceived as positive or negative. And understanding that there will be resistance to change will help you anticipate it and more importantly, manage it effectively.

You can never eliminate resistance but you can mitigate it by using a skillful communication technique I learned from the late legendary change and transition expert William Bridges.

Providing answers to Bridges’s “4 Ps” in all of your communications will go a long way toward reducing resistance to change.

  • Purpose
    o Why are we doing this?
    o What problem are we solving?
    o What are we trying to accomplish?
  • Picture
    o What is the end game?
    o How is it going to work?
    o What is changing and what isn’t?
  • Plan
    o What is the road map for getting where we need to go?
    o What is going to happen over the next X months?
    o What happens first, second, third?
  • Part
    o What is my role?
    o How will I be involved?
    o Do I have an opportunity for input into the change and how we are going to do things going forward?

By consistently providing this critical information in all of your communications, you’ll help your team understand why the change is necessary, what it looks like, how you’re all going to get there, and how they fit in. And if you do that, normal resistance doesn’t really stand a chance.

However, if you’re seeing excessive resistance in your organization, and it’s been going on for a prolonged time, you need to take a look in the mirror. Some resistance is unavoidable, but lots of resistance is usually a symptom of poor change leadership.

How do you and your organization manage change? Share your insights and war stories with us below.

Marty-Jordan Marty Jordan is a Principal Consultant and co-leader of Linkage’s Change and Transition Leadership practice. She is an accomplished HR/OD professional with broad-based experience in multiple industries and has worked in diverse business functions and corporate environments. Follow her on Twitter @maj421.



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