In today’s global business environment, flexibility is often the key to survival but many organizations suffer from a cultural inertia that impedes their ability to implement new strategies. The authors of “Four Antidotes to Change Resistance” suggest four approaches that “can mitigate the emotional and cultural challenges of achieving strategic transformations inorganizations”:

1) Bring employees face to face with the external pressures to change. Be honest with employees—if a “blank check” culture is bankrupting the business, open the books and explain why an organization-wide accountability for costs is necessary.

2) Engage change zealots. These “change agents” are critical to business success in so many ways, but in this case using them as “champions” of the new policy can pave the way for other employees’ acceptance and cooperation.

3) Manage employee feelings. Help people manage their reactions to the changes and provide an escape route (severance package) if it’s clear things aren’t going to work out.

4) Support the change with new tools and systems. Develop systems for tracking successes and failures and reward and recognize accordingly.

Strategy+Business Spring 2004