We Asked, You Told: The 6 Biggest Challenges Change Managers Face
If only leading change were as straightforward as moving from Point A to Point B.
We wanted to take a closer look at the challenges change managers face on a daily basis so we could better understand which factors sludge up change efforts. What we found out surprised us.
We posed a question on LinkedIn: What do you see as the toughest and most challenging part of your job?
Here’s what the respondents had to say.
Ann Divers, Change Project Rescue Consultant & Change Coach, Ann Divers Consulting
For me, the toughest part of the job doesn’t come from the business. It generally comes from change team members who simply want to utilize a generic strategy template with little or no customization. Apparently, because it was approved and worked for an earlier project, then [they think] it’s going to work on this one.
Cathy Thornton, Global Head, Human Capital Management & Organizational Change Management, Wipro Consulting
Ironically, change practitioners resist change. We will become irrelevant if we can’t adapt. Interestingly, we accept that businesses must change to have a competitive advantage, but as practitioners (and targets of change), we struggle to align and think differently, which would create a lot more value for our business leaders.
Paulette Wolff, President, Woolf Strategies, Business Transformation Consultant and Executive Coach
Getting the client to be willing to go through the process when all he wants to do is jump straight to his “solution.”
Nicole Tyson, Enterprise Change Lead, Ausgrid
Challenging, rather than tough… being able to oscillate between being the advocate for the people and their experience whilst balancing the need and drive for the business to achieve its outcomes and the Board to achieve its direction. We work for the people, on behalf of the business, and sometimes, particularly in organizations with low change maturity, that can be truly challenging.
Abi Boyson, Assessment Delivery Manager, General Medical Council
People! You can have the best solutions but if they’re not used then they won’t add value.
Rene Lovato, Head of Change Management & Project Management, KQED
There are many parts of the job that are tough but for me one of the toughest, as a consultant, is convincing the hiring manager that I’m an expert in change management, that’s why they hired me, and that they should follow my suggestions for managing the change instead of just creating the comms plan and taking meeting notes, which is what they want me to do. Yikes.
Here’s the takeaway
Business leaders understand that the ability to swiftly execute change is a matter of survival in the current business climate. Yet resistance to change is still the predominant barrier.
These change leaders’ candid responses show that employees, who are typically on the receiving end of change initiatives, are not the only ones to drag their feet. Board members, executive teams, and even other change managers are all guilty of resistance.
Whether they cling to traditional change solutions, commit to the first good idea, or simply ignore what the change leader has to say, businesses put themselves at a great disadvantage by resisting what must inevitably occur.
How to ease the pain
In the digital workplace, the need for change is often driven by the need for more advanced technologies.
People are naturally wary of change. Part of this comes from the tendency to resist what seems difficult or unknown. When it comes to adopting advanced digital tools, resistance is an expected reaction.
Our current platform may lack some features, but it still serves us.
The time we’d need to invest in training is too great right now.
There’s already too much complexity, I don’t want to add more to it.
No one is immune to the attitude behind these comments — not the team leader, CEO, or even change manager. But when it’s up to change leaders to make a strong case for transformation, fear of complexity or the unknown can’t interfere.
With an effective digital learning solution, you can eliminate these concerns and instantly quell resistance. For instance, solutions that provide onscreen, real-time guidance and contextual learning take the burden of software learning out of your users’ hands. Getting the most out of your technology becomes much easier, and from there, you can drive the broader change initiative forward.