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Resistance to change

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Resistance to change

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #52946

    Tierradentro
    Participant

    In implementing a quality management system (ISO 9000), can anyone give advice on methods used to overcome resistance to change. The organization has management support, but there seems to be significant resistance to change — mainly from production workers. Any ideas, articles, or other helpful resources would be appreciated.

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    #186932

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    John,
    Talk with them.
    Just my opinion.

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    #186933

    Mikel
    Member

    I think Mike is wrong. A 2 x 4 up side the head is usually effective.

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    #186935

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    There are certain geographical locations where that may be the correct answer as well. If Dueling Banjos is still a popular song in the area you are in it could be a viable option.
    Just my opinion

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    #186938

    Don Strayer
    Participant

    There is a wealth of information and proven techniques on this subject.  Just search for “Resistance to Change” on this site and in your favorite search engine and you’ll find useful stuff.  If your production workers are in a collective bargaining agreement (unionized) this becomes more complicated since changes to job descriptions or work rules entail contract negotiations.

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    #186990

    M Dinesh Kumar
    Participant

    The resistance to change can be minimized by following action – 1.Originate the change proposal from the one of the prospective opponents.
    2. Involve all the opponents in discussions so that their openions are honored.
    3. Ensure change positives are communicated well.
    4. The results of if there is no change also communicated well.
    5. Do not be opponent to change your proposal if change is good!!!

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    #186994

    Shelby
    Member

    John,
    Challenge yourself to a few new efforts.  In your post, you say mostly from production workers.  That hints as if one or more of the following scenarios apply.  (some production workers are against and some are for it, some management is against and some is for it, etc.)
    Do a Stakeholder analysis to prevent lumping everyone into one category.  Once you have completed that, learn why those who are resisting change are showing this resistance.
    1) If it is union pressure, this can be difficult but definitely not impossible.  I have had success in this in the past, but I do recomend involving people with expertise in the contract to prevent errors that are easily avoidable.  Just remeber, combating any group is not a sustainable solution, so you must reach out.
    2) Sometimes it is a resistance to any change.  You must learn to remove the fear of the unknown.
    3) Technical resistance sometimes happens.  If people facing the change are intimidated that they will be using measurement and other technoligy that they do not understand.  Find interesting ways of teaching the new techniques.
    4) Loss of power.  You may find that some of the leadership is feeling like they will be losing their ability to lead the way they want.  You must work through this by finding ways to give them ownership in the change.
    Other types of resistance exist, but those are very common.  Back to my original suggestion of doing a stakeholder analysis.  The purpose of this is to learn who can be leveraged to influence others.
    Example: Production workers in department A are pro change and Department B are negative.  Not only can you spend time learning from Dept B, but you can also recruit help from Dept A for how to communicate relevant aspects of the program.  Sometimes it is possible to utilize Dept A members in the communication to Dept B.
    Avoid threatening the jobs of people.  I am not against appropriately running your plant.  However, threatening employees jobs is a bullying technique and should be avoided.
    Just a Thought.
    Good Luck

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    #186998

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    John,
    I am in the middle of getting ISO certified for my factory as well. Let me ask you a basic question. What change? You should be documenting what you do and following it. That doesn’t require change. Read the spec rather than listen to a bunch of consultant/auditors tell you what is in the spec. ther are actually very few hard requirements and those don’t affect the production level people – they are more system level stuff.
    If you are trying to change a bunch of things that are not required because you or some auditor feels they are the way things should be rather than the way ISO compliance requires then you are the problem.
    Assuming you are not the problem most issues with change are that nobody takes the time to tell people what is going on. Communication. It doesn’t have to be more complex than that. You have problems at the production level and the advice is to do a stakeholder analysis? Get out of your chair, get out of your office and talk to people. It is the old MBWA.
    Just my opinion.

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    #187002

    Tierradentro
    Participant

    Thanks for the posts-the ideas and suggestions.  Let me give a little more detail.  This came up at a job interview that I had recently. I have facilitated six sigma teams in the past, but in this particular position, one of the activities would be to obtain ISO 9000 certification. There is new management in place that is 100% behind this effort, but the interviewers repeatedly expressed the concern that many of the employees are not on board. One example given was that some production workers have 25-30 years experience doing their jobs, consider themselves “experts”, and do not want to participate in developing standardized operating procedures. (There is no union).
    When asked how I would handle this situation I responded by saying that I would initially spend a considerable amount of time meeting and speaking with people, taking a sincere interest in their jobs, their concerns, etc, and just getting to know the people on a personal level – building trust. I would also make the requirements AND benefits of having a quality management system and ISO certification understood, using many communication means (one-on-one, team meetings, etc.) We should make the QMS process impossible to ignore, not a “flavor of the month”, but an uncompromised initiative. 
    Some of the posts had similar recommendations: talking to people, getting to know them, involving opponents to change in the discussions, and making benefits known.  Some additional ideas were to address any fears: fear of the unknown, fear of new technology.  Loss of power.  When I look at these suggestions, most come down to good communications and building trust.
    Mike, you questioned what “change?” since much of what is required is documentation and following your process. And you are correct. Perhaps instead of a subject “resistance to change”, I should have titled this thread “resistance to cooperate” as is shown the example given above.
    I am hoping and preparing for a second interview. I am certain there will be more discussion on this topic if I am invited to a second interview. There have been good questions raised here that I can probe further
    For anyone following this thread, there is additional information on the site as Don replied, if you search. Most has to do with resistance on six sigma teams, but some can be leveraged.
    Thanks all.
    John

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    #187003

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    John,
    I took a job in 1994 with a company in Longmont, Colorado to get a company certified to ISO. The President was an ex-Olympic wrestler and was probably the most results driven person I have ever worked for. He had read an article about a company getting certified in 12 months and wanted to do it in 8 months (a little competitive). We got certified in 7 months – there was a bonus attached.
    We did nothing fancy or sophisticated. I will guarantee you that if there is resistance at the production level someone has fed them a complete line of crap about ISO. Make the spec available to them. Walk them through it and discuss it. Have the “experts” write the procedures. Regardless of what the management teams tell you the issue will be middle management not the production people. I had one pushing back and after repeated attempts to convert him I let the president deal with him. His explaination was simple. He told him that “we are getting ISO certified. This isn’t a democracy. It isn’t even a benign dictatorship.” After that the issues went away.
    Figure out who your informal leaders are and build a relationship with them. Once they trust you the rest will trust you. When you think that you have communicated enough then communicate some more and do it face to face. You are dealing primarily with a fear of the unknown. Fix that problem and the rest is easy.
    If you want to discuss how we got it done you can contact me at [email protected]. I will be glad to talk to you about what we did then and what we are doing this time.
    Best of luck to you.

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    #187009

    newbie
    Participant

    You want to influence behavior, which can be nicely defined using the following 5 principles of influence:

    Principle – Do the right thing based on reg, data, policy, or ethic
    Expert – those that know the work best should design it 
    Referrent – People like you…your a swell human being
    Coercive – You get give people things and take them away
    Legitamit – Your authority is formally recognized
    Your ability to influence will be maxmized when you can incorporate as many of the 5 principles as possible for any given situation and the principles at the top are more powerful than the principles at the bottom.  For example:
    Working to effect change because it is “right thing to do”, getting the SME to design the change, be likable in the process, giving them something they want or taking something away they don’t want, and having the action visibly supported via the level of management closest to the woker (not upper management) puts you in a decent position to affect change.

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    #187012

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Newbie,
    I am not sure where your 5 priciples came from but I think that 60% of them are pure nonsense.
    Just my opinion.

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    #187016

    newbie
    Participant

    irrelevant

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    #187017

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Your 5 points. Yes they are.

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    #187020

    Valenti
    Participant

    3 were useless, now 5. Challenged with consistency?

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    #187022

    GB
    Participant

    Correct Nwebie: Your five points and Freddy’s posts are in fact, irrelevant.

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    #187122

    cxg174
    Participant

    I think part of the problem is the whole “us vs. them” mentality that I see reflected so often in this forum. If employers would foster a “we” approach instead of “you will do as I say” approach, things could go so much smoother. People want to be part of the change, part of a team. No one wants to be dictated to constantly. Why do you think people resist change? It gives them a small feeling of control. Give them control, make them active partners in change. Teach them, praise them, involve them, then reward them when it works out well in the end. It takes every player to make a team, not just a coach giving orders and assigning jobs. This is why there is no loyalty to employers today, because they treat employees like they are easily replaced, less than nothing, worthless pieces of meat who are not allowed to have independent thought.

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