For next-gen IT, resistance is fertile

Forward-thinking IT orgs know effective business change begins with a deeper understanding of employee resistance

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Why employees resist change

The fact of the matter is, employees sometimes resist change, but it isn't because they don't understand that change is good. It's because they understand that most of the business changes they've been subjected to over the past four decades have been good for shareholders and good for the company's top executives, but not so good for them.

Business change has, more often than not, meant:

  • Layoffs
  • More work for the survivors
  • The invalidation of hard-won skills
  • A need to learn brand-new skills
  • Reorganizations that mean learning how to deal with a new boss
  • Nothing at all pleasant to soften the blow
  • Abandoning it all for the next management fad to come along

Put it differently: Nobody is asking, "Who moved my cheese?" They aren't asking anything. The ones likely to resist the change are yelling, and what they're yelling is "BOHICA!" (In case you aren't familiar with the acronym, it means "Bend over. Here it comes again!")

The opportunity for next-gen IT

The fact that employees resist change because they're smart gives IT a valuable opportunity. If you're able to figure out the specifics of their resistance to a particular change, you're in a position to do something about it.

Business analysts, with their shiny new title of internal business consultant, will be on the front lines of this. They won't be there by themselves, though, because with agile, developers take on responsibilities that used to belong to business analysts. While they don't have to master the craft, they will need to know something about business change management too.

But that's OK. One way of thinking about business change management is that it's the art of "programming" the organization -- which makes it perfectly logical that developers should learn this "programming language" too.

Want more information about business change management? Check out Bob's book on the subject: Bare Bones Change Management.

This story, "For next-gen IT, resistance is fertile," was originally published at Read more of Bob Lewis' Advice Line blog on For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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