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Reducing Resistance to Change

1. Be timely. Announce an impending change as quickly as possible. Rumors start very quickly.

2. Explain the reasons. Be very upfront in telling your staff why the change is important and how it affects them. Fear of the unknown is the biggest reason why people resist change. It is hard to support something you don’t understand. Note of caution: if you distort the reasons, staff will be doubly antagonistic when they learn the truth.

3. Explain what the change means. Try to let staff members know how the change will affect them. Explain the benefits. Will it help them to provide better care? Do their work faster and more efficiently? Will it help the organization?

4. Ask for advice and participation. Your staff has good first-hand experience on the job. Get their input on change and how a change should be implemented.

5. Don’t change for the sake of change. Continual change leads to resistance. Making a change for the purpose of shaking things up makes it more difficult to get acceptance of necessary changes. Save your energy for more important changes.

6. Control staff anxiety. Change means a new way of doing things and most people are fearful of the unfamiliar. Provide assurances that there will be support and time to become familiar with the new change. It takes a while for people to adjust.

7. Watch for staff reaction. Look for signals that something is not going well with the new change. Rather than trying to force a change, find out what staff doesn’t like about it. Work with their concerns or even rethink the proposed change.

8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Some changes don’t turn out as well as others. Why not say ’Forget it’? Nothing is gained by forcing staff to accept a change they know isn’t necessary.

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