2015-06-17 My weekly column at LA PRENSA: Business Competitiveness, by Carlos R. Flores, General Director CAMBIO CULTURAL, S.A.

Resistance to Change

Macchiavelli, true God for some pragmatic ones, stated that “Nothing is more difficult the task , the most dangerous behaviors, or more uncertain of the outcome , to take the initiative in introducing a new order of things.”  Sometimes self-applied therapy convince us that the situation is good; but it is not only wrong, but bad or critical.

It should be understood that we humans also live from an illusion component, which allows at times -foolishly- to complement the world, to move forward comfortably while you die.

I remember a scene from the movie “Schindler’s List” in which two seniors were talking at the entrance of the extermination camp where newly arrived deportees were dropped from a train, and one of them mentioned the other: “Don´t you worry, germans are extremely logical and never going to waste all this amount of free and competent workforce given away, so we came here to force labor just temporarily. ”

The same is true in organizations where there is resistance to change, whether veiled or open, especially when the status quo is challenged and want to achieve a successful or leave a crippling standoff. No matter how positive or beneficial the initiative might be, the human brain is “hard-wired” to oppose when something challenges this state of affairs that is the cozy accommodation or custom.

One wonders why people resist change. First of all, do not go thinking it’s only because people are going to oppose stubbornly to an idea or initiative right at the spot. We must also ask ourselves whether from the management side, the change is being proposed in the proper way to increase odds of buy-in from audience.

The reasons why people resist change can be: 1) lack of trust ; 2) belief that change is not necessary; 3) belief that change is not feasible ; 4) concerns about the loss of income or job security; 5 ) unease about the cost-benefit balance; 6) Fear of own incompetence to thrive in a different environment ; 7) loss of profits or personal protection status; 8) threats to our own values​​; 9) fear of the unknown and perceived loss of influence.

It is imperative to overcome the resistance, and you as manager, as a leader, as a change agent, must ensure no mistakes in steps to achieve this development. For this, people should be given the power to choose, that they themselves perceive themselves and can be the players of their own fate.

One danger when it comes to bringing organizations to attain challenging goals, is the fear of not having control of their own destinies, this perception may cause that employees fall into “hard” reactions, where they pick desperate behaviors based on past experience, which probably will not be useful to them in a new context, then causing a beefed-up resistance to the change process, essentially failing to offer a clear and honest view of the foreseeable future.

Currently, many companies are in transition to new business models, which certainly will lead to either unimaginable or unconventional commercial schemes, and management should not fail to promote these changes as positive ones, to replace the mental software “threat ” by “opportunity” so that people can get on board and generate creative ideas to integrate and take full advantage of change, and not to fight in vain against business evolutionary march.

The methodologies we have at Cambio Cultural, S.A. have proven to be highly effective ensuring optimum business results for your company.

Do not hesitate contacting us:  direccion@cambiocultural.net Managua, Nicaragua.

Spanish version at LA PRENSA, pls click following link:


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