Some changes are welcomed, but others may not be. Many of us enjoy changing our iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 plus without any hesitation, but we may be reluctant to change the environment we have been used to.

Obviously, we like to embrace the change when it benefits us, but we are nervous, or even resistant, if we see uncertainty or risks deriving from the changes. This is not about culture or mindset, it’s about human nature: as a general rule, people don’t like ambiguity.

Here’s a small vignette to make my point. A distribution center decided to implement warehouse management components into its ERP environment. The management was expecting higher efficiency with revolutionary change. The warehouse team, however, was concerned about whether the headcount would be cut and how difficult it would be for the team to learn and adapt to the new applications. So, they were unwilling to fully support the new WM component implementation of the new ERP system implementation and actively worked against it after go-live.

The benefit was good, but the changes encountered much resistance and complaints, and the minor issues after go-live were exaggerated and deliberately challenged.

You see how communications matters during a change:

  • people need information about what/why is the change being implemented and how to get help from whom;
  • people need to express and vent their negative feelings using the appropriate communication channel;
  • change makers need to address the potential impacts and objections;
  • change makers also need to take action to mitigate the problems by communicating and aligning the people during the change

Good communication will help sell and align the changes with the expected benefits, all while reducing resistance and avoiding chaos. If this is the case, the implementation of the change can be both positive and rewarding to the organization.