Don t Empower the Naysayers


Don't Empower the Naysayers

Battling cultural pushback will be the hardest part of managing this process. More than half of all major change initiatives are cut short because those in charge panic in the face of antagonism. Even if you have the best strategic plan in the world, a competent team, and a supportive leadership, naysayers will be a powerful and damaging bunch if you take them too seriously. Don't let them destroy your self-confidence . Don't doubt yourself because of their pushback. Change is a difficult process for every company, and there will always be those loud and angry few who fight it tooth and nail. If you acknowledge that this will happen and are prepared for it, you will triumph.

The pushback will occur just about the time you are feeling confident that things really are changing. When you are feeling good about all the effort that has been put into this implementation, that is when the naysayers will apply the maximum pressure. Cling tenaciously to your facts and figures and prove them wrong.

Managing naysayers is a delicate balancing act. Paying too much attention to them makes others want to join their ranks, but you cannot completely ignore them because, like everyone else in the company, they are your audience. Left unchecked, their complaints will grow louder, and they will also win attention from others in the organization. You need to address their needs quickly and firmly to nip their complaints in the bud and show them that the technology is worth adopting.

If they claim that the system doesn't work, show them that it does. Explain the principles of the tool and offer to walk them through its use, but don't reward them for grudgingly going along. Give them just enough of your time to show them that you are in charge and that you are not going away. Set expectations and let them know that if they are willing to try something new, you will support them; otherwise , they can take their career development into their own hands and suffer the consequences.

The longer the initiative is sustained and continues to gain support, the less pushback you will encounter. This is the transformation process in action: The new gets more and more reinforced and the old slowly loses strength and fades, but it never completely goes away. Even today, three years later, there is still resistance at Rockwell Collins every time the learning and development team rolls out something new. It's a constant battle, but we fight it with rational, logical arguments. When naysayers use emotions, we counter with facts. In the end, we usually win.




Built to Learn. The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization
Built to Learn: The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization
ISBN: 0814407722
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 124

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