essential previous learningModel for Change

Managing Resistance to Change

The key to implementing successful change

Key learning outcomes:

  • Learn that most failures in change implementation are the result of resistance from those who will be directly impacted.
  • Conclude that transparency is crucial when introducing change in a business.
  • Determine that employees need reassurance, and training if necessary, to overcome fear or a lack of confidence in times of change.
  • Acknowledge that consultation with employees is critical when preparing change strategies to avoid errors or poor decisions.


A quick web search on the success rate of change will tell you that around 70 per cent of all change initiatives fail. This might not sound very encouraging; however, when we delve further into the statistics, we find that in almost half of these cases it comes down to resistance to change not being overcome or managed effectively. In our “Model for change” article, we explain how resistance fits into the change cycle and the importance of managing resistance in implementing successful change. Resistance is a common stage in the change process. As a leader you should think about potential areas of resistance and design solutions as part of your planning process. In this article we will take you through some of the most common reasons why people resist change, and give you some tools and ideas for managing them.

Failure to understand the need for change

People who do not have a clear understanding of why the change will take place often show a high level of resistance. Change takes work, and unless a person sees a valid reason for it, they are likely to hold on to their old ways of doing things. As a leader you need to ensure that you have clearly communicated the reasons for change and that you have included everyone who will be impacted by change in the planning phase. Change that is forced upon people without warning is rarely successful.

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