“I Don’t Want to Learn This.”

Participants may not say it to your face, but you can see it in their impatient posture, the sighs, slightly rolling eyes and surreptitious looks at their not quite out of sight smart phone.   Yet you are charged with effectively teaching them new skills and behavior, in time to meet the hard deadlines of a highly visible, site-wide project.

When you are tasked with changing behaviors, remember this: Many people do not like change that is externally driven by others. A typical response to change is increased time to do a task, frustration, lower quality, and a feeling of incompetence. It takes more work to learn new skills than is does to do things the same old way. Research shows us that change, when not managed, can cause all kinds of damage to companies, including disastrously late timelines. Repeated change initiatives actually wear people down, causing dis-engagement, and a perpetually confused and even exhausted way of working.

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What is the best way to deal with this?

Expect it and take the steps to prevent it (or reduce it as much as possible).

  1. Get people involved in the plan as early as possible to gather feedback, ideas and cultivate awareness of the business reason for change.
  2. The first question to float into the brain of those impacted by change is “Why?” Anticipate this, and have all the positive reasons ready as to how the change will help the company, the population, the employees, sales, efficiency, etc.
  3. Acknowledge that change is difficult- teach leaders to listen with empathy and coach people into positivity about the change. Most employees want to be heard, and feel powerless and unappreciated during change. They may talk with peers more than leaders, and believe negative rumors about what a change will lead to.
  4. Give learners time to practice new skills and get encouraging and empowering feedback. This is no time for a “Death by PowerPoint” experience with learning new skills. Rather, devote serious project time to designing meaningful, supportive and engaging learning plans with time for practice and mastery.
  5. Reward early adopters and cut off escape routes. Use contests and other rewards to build positive excitement about the “new way.” At the same time, find ways to stop allowing the “old way.” An illustration: In 1519, Hernán Cortéslanded his ships in southeastern Mexico with six hundred men and, once landed, destroyed the ships. This sent a clear message to his soldiers: There is no way to retreat, we must win.
  6. When the change has been successful, make a big deal of it. Call it out as a done deal, so stragglers have a final message: We are done with the old way; on with the new. Also, remind employees what the change was for and what benefits are already being realized.

Call Katy Caselli about a class for leaders: Coaching for Change. Katy is a certified (PROSCI) change manager and experienced instructor and change agent.

Based on the book by Katy Caselli- Building Giants: A Proven System to Transform Your Workforce Through Effective Training.

Contact Katy about holding a Building Giants Workshop for your leaders today!

KCaselli@BuildingGiants.com 919 564 6855