Resistance is not only good it is necessary for success.

Last week we talked about building awareness. The message and the audience. The what and the who. This week let’s discuss building desire. This is the why and the how. The business case and the impact. This is also where resistance will start to surface. Good.

To successfully enroll employees in a change project, they must understand why the project exists and how it will directly impact them.

The business case describes the reason for the project. This could be anything from expense reduction, improvements to innovation or customer service, or growing revenue. Employees want to know why the project is important. It’s a benefit to share it with them to increase the possibility of their enrollment in the project. I don’t know many employees who will otherwise sign on to a project.

Sharing the impact is one of the most critical elements of communication. Employees definitely want to know how their jobs will be impacted because of the change. This could be anything from changing the way they do their job, interact with others to perform work, where they sit in the organization, and even if they’ll have the same or any job after the change. Candor matters.

This is also where resistance will begin to surface. Once employees begin to understand how the change will impact their jobs, this is when the real buy-in starts. Or not. Yet resistance is good. It gives the leader the opportunity to learn about things they may have overlooked or not have otherwise considered. Embrace resistance. Here is a link to my blog where I cover resistance in more detail.

One client implemented a major transformation that was going to change the way people worked throughout the entire organization. We developed communication messages for various segments of the organization, depending on how the business case was going to impact them. Then we set out to communicate with them, segment by segment, sharing why the transformation was critical to keeping the organization viable, and how it would impact employees. One group who was particularly resistant ending up becoming ardent supporters of the project. In the end, the transformation was successful, and the group that was the most resistant ended up becoming most successful with the change.

There you have it. Last week, the what and the who. This week, the why and the how. Awareness and desire. Next week I will share an example from one leader that was a particularly successful approach to communication.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,
Steve

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