Overcoming Resistance to Change
Resistance to change was highlighted in the Housing Forum Research of its relevant demonstrations as one of the major challenges experienced by the demonstration teams.
Convincing people of the need for change is not an easy task. It takes effort, planning and time and the involvement of staff.
Most of us do not like change and if we don't understand the need for it, we will naturally resist it! Partnering, Rethinking Construction and Best Value procurement all demand radical changes in the way we do things. Some Housing Forum demonstration projects were set up by partnering champions who have often found themselves working initially against the grain of their own organisations.
Alongside that, social housing landlords are themselves often part of much larger organisations going through other kinds of change.
For change to be effective:
- the whole organisation needs to be engaged in the change process. Many organisations in the past have underestimated the significance of the change management process itself, or have not seen change management as a serious organisational issue
- the process needs to involve the setting out of clear reasons for change, and the benefits of the outputs and outcomes to be achieved
- outdated practices, silo working, and lack of awareness, which may not have been challenged in large organisations in the past, will need to be addressed
- it must involve everyone, and be accompanied by training and practical guidance for all staff: managerial, technical, legal, finance, etc... at all levels
- it needs to become accepted as an essential feature of the organisation's drive for continuous improvement. The failure to change is often at the root of significant difficulties and problems encountered throughout the whole change process.
Barriers to change can be overcome by:
- Recognising change management as a project in its own right, which needs to be resourced and planned along with the implementation of internal partnering
- Supporting individuals throughout the change process. Some people will take to partnering and collaboration more easily that others, but everyone involved will eventually need to sing up to it if change is to be effectively sustained.
CDS Housing commenced a restructuring exercise during 2002, which saw the emergence of the Plus Housing Group and a restructured CDS Housing team with a core focus around customer excellence and retaining the necessary flexibility to continually change and innovate.
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council formed a strategic partnering group to merge the change process.
Citywest Homes steered forward their change management process by using a strategic core group.