Every transformation effort will hit the resistance wall sooner or later. In general, in the beginning, your team will be divided following the 20/60/20 rule. The rule states that approximately 20% will be happy to participate, 60% will watch from distance, and another 20% will resist the change.
How to handle resistance with each group
Those who are happy to participate, or at least try, are your golden group. They can help to spread the enthusiasm. The resistance group will actively work as roadblocks. They will oppose every idea and maybe even try to convince people to stop or delay progress.
Focus your efforts on the 60% group. With the right transformation plan, you can influence this group and have them participating in the transformation. Treat the first group as your advocates and helpers. With the participation of these two groups, things will start to get traction. Eventually, they will convince most of the resistance group.
Use the transformation plan to overcome resistance
While there are no magic bullets, an effective plan will help address some situations that cause resistance. For example, explain what will change, the reason for the change, and how it will happen.
A critical part of the transformation is the communication plan. Think who, when, and how to break the news. Start saying why the culture needs to change. Explain the reason to invest time and resources into a conversion of the company mindsets and methods. Be open and honest about those reasons. Also, be transparent about the challenges ahead. Moreover, explain in detail what the goal is, what do you want to achieve. In other words, try to answer all the possible questions before they become a source of resistance.
Build your plan around the team needs
Your team is the most critical resource in the journey from traditional to continuous improvement. Assess the gaps between the skills and knowledge your team need and currently has. Talk about education and training. For instance, cite examples of training needs and how you will close the gap.
Changes are stressful, remove a bit of anxiety by presenting the big picture, a high-level view of the roadmap to success. Present how success looks like, what the expectations are. Monitor the execution of each step of the plan and report back to the team how things are going. Be honest about what is working and what is not. Reflect with the group about lessons learned and celebrate together every win regardless of how big or small.
Your people are the heart of your business, the most valuable asset. When you take care of them, they take care of your customers. Keep the focus on providing them all the support and guidance they need throughout the transformation. Listening to their concerns and act upon those things that you can improve is critical for a successful transformation.