Increasingly frequent and rapid changes in companies mean that many employees and managers question the meaning and benefits of change and do not accept it. If a company wants to remain successful in the long term, it must succeed in bringing all those involved on board and motivating them to participate in shaping change actively. Fears and uncertainties must be recognised quickly, and management must take adequate measures to counteract them. Unfortunately, however, this is precisely where many things go wrong again and again. Here you will find the three most common mistakes in change management.
1. Inadequate communication
In Change Processes, the need for information of employees increases enormously. It is, therefore, particularly important to communicate the necessity and goal of a change. If the employees understand the meaning behind the change, this is already a first big step towards success. The implementation of feedback loops is a decisive factor for success.
So-called “negative communication” is also a significant problem. This means that a significant negative consequence is promised if the change is not implemented. Example: “If we do not implement the new processes, we will lose all our jobs”. This only creates more insecurity and fear among the employees. And fear is known to be a lousy motivator. It is better to focus on the positive consequences of successful change, e.g.: “Once we have successfully implemented the new processes, this will strengthen our competitiveness and make us more attractive to our customers”.
2. Incorrect handling of resistors
Many people are sceptical about change. They see change as a threat and show active or passive resistance. This is where the sensitivity of managers is required, as the reasons for resistance vary significantly from one individual to another. Only through a precise analysis of the situation and discussions with employees can the causes of resistance be identified and counter-strategies developed. The most important thing is to actively and constructively deal with the resistance of the employees. Overly authoritarian behaviour by management will only lead to active resistance, becoming passive resistance and thus even more challenging to treat.
3. Consistent management commitment
Even if it may sound paradoxical, many change projects fail due to resistance from their management. Middle management, in particular, often feels threatened and then reacts with “service to rule” or passive resistance. And the message “I don’t like it either, but there’s nothing I can do about it” is then communicated to the employees behind closed doors. It is, therefore, an enormously important and urgent task in change projects to recognise and effectively counteract a lack of commitment to management