ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

Benefiting from The Resistors

Most of us know that in order to survive, our businesses must change. However, we are reluctant to impose those changes for a variety of reasons. First, we are comfortable with the way things are (or were). Change may be necessary to survive, but is as unpleasant to the agency owners as it is to the employees. The employee reaction to change is another major stumbling block to its implementation. Most employees face change with trepidation and fear. Some actually fear the loss of their jobs if the change makes the agency more efficient. Others equate change with increased responsibility (without increased pay) and a greater workload. Most employees are also creatures of habit and have grown used to the way it has been for many years. They will not accept change simply for its own sake.

These common employee attitudes is a major reason that owners find implementing changes in their agency difficult. Consider how much more you could do if you had a staff that looked forward to every change that you desired as a positive step to profit and their well-being and security. Unfortunately, this attitude is rather rare. More likely, you will encounter the RESISTOR.

The Resistor will think of every reason that change is bad and can't work. (S)he will criticize and undermine and will be the first to tell you it couldn't work if a constructive change fails. The Resistor is a thorn in your side. Unfortunately, they are usually competent employees and you need them in your business. As a matter of fact the Resistor is often an informal leader. So how do you deal with Resistors?

The best way to deal with a Resistor is to make them your allies. If a Resistor doesn't care about the future of the agency and their own career, this effort will not succeed. However, most Resistors can help you implement a change successfully by severely testing your every effort. If you can respond to their challenges, you will likely overturn every stone in the implementation process and eliminate all of the problems associated with the change.

When you decide to implement a change in the agency, call your key Resistor into your office and explain the problem. Be honest. Resistors will see through any ploy. And honest explanations of the problems will automatically lower the resistance to the solution. Suggest that you'd like the Resistor to help you develop and implement the solution to the problem. If they are a leader they will take the mantle of responsibility and run with it. If not, ask them if you could use them to "bounce ideas off" to make sure that they are tested before implementation. You would rather get their honest feedback and respond to their challenges up front than have them tacitly accept a change until your back is turned and convince everyone else that the change can't work.