The number one obstacle to success for major enterprise implementations like Primavera P6 is employee resistance and the ineffective management of the people side of change. Why is this?
Many people prefer to have environments that are predictable. It brings comfort to know that they know what to do, how to do it, when it needs to be done, and who they work with to get their work done. If their work is specialized and uses a set of tools that require time to master, it can be reassuring to know that their skills are valued and valuable.
When an organization introduces new tools and processes and working relationships that may disrupt these known patterns, people’s responses often range along a continuum (see below).
The challenge then is to work with people along this continuum.
Those welcoming the change are the easiest to work with – they are usually curious and often provide suggestions to make the change happen. These are often early champions of the change. Convincing them of the need for change and how to implement it is the easiest of these. It is good strategy for the change management team to leverage these folks to help with convincing others about the need for change and the value it brings.
Curious & Reserved
Those who are curious and reserved often need more convincing. They may also need information or reassurance that the nature and timing of the change is manageable for them. They often raise questions that are useful to others who are unsure of the impact of the change. Along with those who are welcoming, they can form a cornerstone of the change effort.
Those who are neutral can be more or less willing to consider and integrate the changes into their roles and responsibilities. They may want to be convinced that the change is going to work before they begin to work with it. Getting them on board may involve more one-on-one time, training and information.
Not Sure If Comfortable
Those who are not sure if they are comfortable with the change are more difficult to work with and may actively resist change until they are convinced of its value and that they are not affected or threatened substantially by the change. As with Neutrals more one-on-one and training may help them. They may also need coaching by their manager or one of the change management team.
Those who feel threatened are often the most difficult to work with. And, their ideas and attitudes toward the change can taint the others who are more willing to consider the changes. A hidden potential benefit of these folks is that, while they may be the most difficult to work with, some things can often be learned from them (e.g. something the Change Team didn’t consider, a nuance in culture, technology limitations, etc.). And, their reactions can sometimes lead to better understanding of how to alter the change management initiative to be more acceptable and less threatening across the organization.
If, in the final analysis though, resisters are unwilling to engage in the change process and meld its requirements into their work, then it may be necessary to find a better fit for their skills elsewhere in the organization. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to help them find other external opportunities better suited to them. After all, without buy-in and willingness to work in new and different ways, a change effort can be threatened and, potentially the health and success of the organization.