How to manage resistance to change

In a recent survey we conducted, 31% cited “resistance to change” from staff as being the biggest obstacle to overcome when moving to a business system. This lead the field, with “learning how to use” a close second at 28% of the vote, closely followed by “migrating contacts” at 25% and lagging behind with just 16% “integrating with other apps”.

So we’ve put together this help article to offer advice on how to manage/minimise resistance you may encounter and help you avoid some of the common mistakes.

1. Involve loud voices early!

You’ve probably already got in mind exactly who in your organisation will make a fuss. An option is to bring them in early, make them feel important by making them part of an exclusive club who will be part of the decision-making process. This can be a great way of getting influencers on board and actually promoting the idea of your chosen business system.

Caution: This strategy is not without risks. Make sure you define clearly what role these individuals have in the decision-making process and communicate that to them clearly from the outset. Otherwise they may feel entitled to a final say and you could end up with more resistance than had you left them out of the process altogether!

2. Stage implementation

Change is always easier if it comes in easy to make steps. Whilst it might be tempting and more exciting to push everything into a CRM or business system in one go, it also makes staff far more nervous. If you bring in the new system in stages it allows your staff to get used to a small section and feel the benefits. You can then bring in the next part and then the next perhaps just a few months apart. Pretty soon your staff will be dying to have the rest implemented!

3. Reassure

On learning that a business system is on its way, your employees may become nervous, particularly those that are not very confident with IT or have been working the same way for a long time. Often these concerns can be alleviated simply by explaining that they will all be consulted on how they work and how that will change with the new system. It’s also important to reassure them that they won’t be expected to be instant experts in the new system and that a learning curve is to be expected.

4. If all else fails – lay down the law

You may be unlucky enough to have someone working for you who is simply obstructive despite your best efforts. At the end of the day you may have risked time, money, health and even personal relationships to get your business where it is today – now that you’ve identified a system that you believe will be of great benefit to your business success, are you willing to be stopped by a person who’s wages you pay?


Hopefully you’ve found this article useful and it may have given you some ideas on how to handle resistance to change. Please feel free to link to this page if you feel it would be of help to someone else.