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Lean Management – resistance to change

“What, change again, should we work differently again? Such reactions and resistance in employees must be faced by employers, because most people do not like change. – How to react to them? How to help employees?

If you know the typical phases of the change process, you can better support your employees in dealing with new challenges. This knowledge also increases your confidence as a leader.

Table of Contents

  1. Phase 1 – Rumors
  2. Phase 2 – Expectations and fears
  3. Phase 3 – Defensive reactions
  4. Phase 4 – Questions and fear of failure
  5. Phase 5 – Acceptance
  6. Phase 6 – Becoming convinced of the new
  7. Phase 7 – Evaluation

Phase 1 – Rumors

They always appear, even before the official announcement of the planned changes and cause anxiety in the organization. It is often difficult to avoid. That’s why it’s important to talk to your employees as a leader and agree with them on the rules of the game for dealing with an unclear situation.

Phase 2 – Expectations and fears

Once you have officially announced information about the upcoming changes, you should focus on meeting with people. You need to explain to them the goals and reasons for the changes. People understand that not everyone can be involved in creating a vision for the future. Nevertheless, it is necessary to listen to what expectations they have and what they fear. This is where direct contact between the leader and employees must not be lacking.

Phase 3 – Defensive reactions

After the initial shock, the affected people show anger and rage. The result is defensive reactions, which sometimes even lead to higher productivity. Because employees want to prove that change is not needed. Now we have to argue that change is still necessary and inevitable.

Phase 4 – Questions and fear of failure

Employees ask themselves: what does the change mean for them? What challenges are looming? Will they be able to cope with them, and if so, how? Most of the people involved cannot yet assess this. Therefore, it is important to help them get through this state of uncertainty. Explain what their role will be in implementing the new resolutions.

Phase 5 – Acceptance

The biggest challenge is the moment when people realize that there is no turning back. To convince them to accept the new, it is important to appreciate the old. Employees need time and space to “mourn and say goodbye” – for example, during group meetings or one-on-one conversations with a supervisor. This is the moment when you need to give people time.

Phase 6 – Becoming convinced of the new

Energia skupia się na nowym dopiero wtedy, gdy pojawi się przekonanie. Teraz należy wzbudzić ciekawość, doceniać ich zaangażowanie, zapewnić pracownikom niezbędną wiedzę i umiejętności. To dobry czas na wymianę doświadczeń, informację o podobnych przeprowadzonych z sukcesem projektach, na spotkania warsztatowe, które pomogą wprowadzić poprawki i usprawnienia zmienionego procesu.

Phase 7 – Evaluation

The new will gradually become normal. The experience and learning gained will give employees confidence. As a result, productivity will increase well beyond the original level. Now is the time to evaluate the process: What was the biggest challenge? When and where was it difficult? Where have we had failures and where have we had surprising successes? What worked well? What do we want to transfer to other departments or processes? Every person and organization, according to the Lean Management concept, should learn from experience so that future changes can be even more manageable.