Issues to do with culture and how to deal with "being stuck" and "laggards"

by Stephen Warrilow
(Clevedon)

"How do you get the laggards to embrace the change (in a voluntary organisation)"

"I'm looking for are the breakthrough points where I might most productively work - the really key leverage point that might produce some exponential shifts which would show people that change can happen."

"When I apply the CM practices to Government Automation (eGovernance Projects) and conduct the workshops, the one biggest challenge is to ensure that the Leadership (senior officers) and About-to-retire functionaries, who are most cynical, to sit through the workshop sessions. Can you specifically design some tools/ steps for addressing this challenge?"


The short answer from John Kotter is "don't bother" check the video at the top of this page:

Resistance To Change

The long answer is that you move people towards a shared mindset by undertaking a simple cultural analysis as the first step in your change planning/initiation.

You will find plenty of resource here:

Organisational Culture

Programme Planning

But ultimately you can't win everyone over. One of the many benefits of the cultural analysis is that you identify the "regressive" and "subversive" subcultures very early on.

If you do all of this with a heavy involvement of your informal organisation - i.e.e non-management frontline people at the point of service delivery they will help you overcome this. In my experience - the frontline people nearly always have the solutions - the key to this is approaching them the right way, asking the right questions, and keeping them continuously involved throughout all aspects and stages of the change process.

I also suggest you look at these pages and all of the resources and links included on these pages:

Change Management Templates For CEOs

Change Management Readiness Assessment

Resistance To Change

However, if it's too late in the day for all that, I'd follow Kotter's suggestion and just cut them out of the loop (to put it bluntly).




"The one area you could help with is - managing reluctance to change in a environment where the culture is to sit tight or fight change with group resistance."

The one thing that will move you towards a shared mindset is to undertake a simple cultural analysis as the first step in your change planning/initiation.

You will find plenty of resource here:

Organisational Culture

Programme Planning

The big key to all this is to involve people from senior parts of your organisation (Kotter says you need 70% on board to succeed) and critically - involve people from the informal aspects of your organisation in this process AND keep them involved throughout the duration of the initiative.

I do strongly recommend that you involve all elements of your organisation in addressing this question and especially the "informal organisation" - those of your people who work in the "frontline" i.e. your lowest status employees and volunteers who operate at the delivery end of your services.

In my experience - the frontline people nearly always have the solutions - the key to this is approaching them the right way, asking the right questions, and keeping them continuously involved throughout all aspects and stages of the change process.

I also suggest you look at these pages and all of the resources and links included on these pages:

Change Management Templates For CEOs

Change Management Readiness Assessment

Resistance To Change

To take this a stage further, I have 2 further suggestions:

(1) To focus their minds on failure - the high likelihood of it - and I would seek to find ways of "grinding out" the personal impacts that failure will have on them - what it will cost them personally how and where they will have personal exposures if/when the initiative fails. In my experience, nothing focuses UK corporate senior management like the fear of a personal exposure! The bigger the exposure the more engagement/action you are likely to see!

(2) To show them how what they perceive to be "soft"/fuzzy people issues are directly and inextricably interlinked with hard financials - their hard financials - thus engagement with the CM process is essential to their interests.

You'll find useful material on this here (and on the links and resources on each page):

Change Management Implementation

I particularly recommend that you look at Peter Duschinsky's work which is featured here (and on his site) he is pioneered some services and tools that directly address this and expose senior execs to the likely/inevitable fallout of a failed initiative and he gives an assessment of the likelihood of this happening. (Peter is UK based.)

The Change Equation




"My question is as follows: What are possible preparatory steps that will ensure a shared mindset on the need to change?"

"One of the biggest needs I have at this moment is a detailed planning process, that includes identifying the stakeholders, their role in the project, how the change will impact them and the expectations in regards to communications and how those communications will be managed."


The detailed planning process - and the one thing that will move you towards a shared mindset - is to undertake a simple cultural analysis as the first step in your change planning/initiation.

You will find plenty of resource here:

Organisational Culture

Programme Planning

Regarding the communication aspect of your question, you may find these links and other resources and link on these pages useful:

Communication Strategy

Effective Workplace Communication

Barriers To Effective Communication




To read related articles, return to: "This is what you told me"

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