Creating Change with a Change-Resistant Employee

A manager we know sent his employees a memo about the upheavals in the marketplace, stating, “We’ll have to shift around resources and job alignments. That means you’ll have new responsibilities, perhaps even extra work.” Immediately, they groaned: “Oh, no, they’re gonna ask us to do more work with fewer resources.” Employees and managers are always ready to fight that, especially if they’re in panic mode. They see each other as stubborn, closed-minded, and negative. The employees are unhappy because, in their view, the problem is the company… the marketplace…the management… the products… basically, everything and everyone else except them — “It’s not me, it’s you guys!”

When it comes to change-resistant employees, one-on-one dialogue can be a powerful tool. Discussing each other’s issues over lunch or coffee is a good way to ease into such a conversation and help them understand the bigger picture, getting them to open up and share their thoughts, feelings, issues, and perspectives. Be a catalyst to effective communication. The ONLY way to do that is to ask good questions!

Start off by asking your employee how things look from their standpoint; this gives you a chance to discuss their issues and feelings. Keep in mind that such questions will encourage people to vent — and that’s just what we want! As a manager, you need to listen, even at the risk of opening the proverbial can of worms. Here are examples of good questions to ask.

  • Tell me about the things that YOU are experiencing on the job.
  • Share with me what’s going on in your world.
  • From your perspective, how are you perceiving and experiencing change now?
  • What are the implications if we don’t change? What could we do differently to adapt to change? What are some of the things you’re doing differently in order to adapt?

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Paul Cherry

For over two decades, sales expert and author PAUL CHERRY has helped B2B sales professionals close more deals in all major industries. As a recognized thought leader in customer engagement strategies, Paul Cherry has been featured in more than 250 publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, The Kiplinger Letter, and Salesforce.

Performance Based Results

Paul Cherry is the president of Performance Based Results. PBR delivers intense, customized sales team training programs and sales management coaching to companies throughout North America. Paul has worked with more than 1,200 organizations, including 175 of the Fortune 500, plus more than a thousand entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized, cutting-edge businesses looking to dominate their niche markets. Clients typically get 7 times their return-on-investment (ROI) or better.

Questions That Sell

Paul Cherry’s top-rated bestseller, Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants (AMACOM) has been listed on BookAuthority’s “100 Best Sales Books of All Time” and has been published in four languages. He is also the author of Questions That Get Results (Wiley) and The Ultimate Sales Pro (HarperCollins Leadership).