4 tips on how to fight internal resistance to new project management process
“What should I do if I encounter resistance to a new project management process I’m introducing?”
Many people will automatically resist change, especially if it is imposed upon them. Often, they will resist even if the change is for the better, just because it’s easier to stay the course than to try and make an adjustment. So what do you do when you encounter this in your project team? How can you get people invested in a change that will be to everyone’s benefit when their knee-jerk reaction is to balk?
Set a Context
The first thing you can do is to be transparent and let people know why the change is being made, and the circumstances that led to it. Establishing a context will show them that there is a definite and reasonable purpose to this move. They may not all agree, but at least they will understand.
Find an Advocate
Change from without is always harder to swallow than change from within. Find someone in the team who can and will support the change. Involve them in the process, and have them be your advocate to the rest of the group. Make sure that this person is amiable and well-respected, otherwise they will do more damage to your campaign than good.
Demonstrate the Benefits
Results speak for themselves. Show people that the new process will be better for them in the long (or short) run by doing it yourself. If necessary, do a side-by-side comparison where one team does it the old way, and another team does it the new way, and compare the results.
Be Open to Feedback
Your team may be resisting for a reason. Invite an open discussion and allow your team members to voice their concerns. Listen with an open mind and address any questions without being overbearing or impatient. If their concerns are valid, then you can incorporate their feedback and adjust the process to everyone’s satisfaction.
Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.