Monday 3 November 2014

Strategies for change

In response to this series of blogs on influencing I've been asked to cover handling change and resistance to change.

Today I'm going start with assuming you don't have any resistance yet and you're just planning to make some changes and considering you're strategy for doing this.

In which case we don't need to go much further than Kotter and Schlesinger who identify six strategies for dealing with change.
  • Education and Communication - In providing further information and explaining the reasons for the vision, leaders are more likely to achieve buy-in and support from stakeholders.
  • Participation and involvement - This helps individuals take a personal stake in the process and an interest in the outcome.
  • Facilitation and support - Where there is uncertainty, debate or potential misunderstanding, the leader’s role in facilitating discussion or supporting individuals is key in removing resistance to the proposals.
  • Negotiation and agreement - Not all stakeholders are easily influenced. Sometimes the leader needs to actively engage stakeholders in an exchange or debate about the proposal. Eliciting agreement through discussion and negotiation is critical for long-term support. (As per my 'let them get their own way' blog last week!)
  • Manipulation and co-optation - This involves covert attempts to sidestep resistance and/or conflict, using material rewards and psychological appeals as a tactic for ensuring long-term support is established. (I personally don't like the term manipulation as I said last week - but it's their model not mine!)
  • Implicit and explicit coercion - Where necessary, leaders may be required to abandon the consensus and resort to justifiable pressure or threats. However, it should be noted that this is very much a ‘last resort’ and the leader should be aware of the full consequences of such an action. (Is this ever going to be that sustainable?)
Which strategy will you choose?

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

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