Resistance to change: Lessons for business from the General Election result


Whatever your politics, it is now an undeniable fact that the general election result shows that above all the British people have voted for certainty and arguably no wholesale change in the status quo.  The predominant party remain the predominant party in the parliament and even in Scotland the result mirrors the Scottish parliament result.  It was of course predicted that there would be days of wrangling over who would form the government and the make-up of this could have been in any direction.   But it was in fact David Cameron who was using the phrase "straight back to continue the work” on Friday.

Uncertainty, or more accurately the fear of it, appears to have been rejected and there is now a clear result.

But what the result demonstrates is the importance of the psyche of the British public and the effect this has in the workplace; people are intrinsically resistant to change.  In business this is the same.  Unless you prepare people for change, they simply won’t accept it. 

In fact, a company that understands how inseparable the relationship between preparing employees to accept change and the effective application of this change are, is likely to see a successful outcome. With careful planning and the support of business leaders, companies can help their workforces adapt to change and retain their competitive edge.

The latest report on jobs from the REC & KPMG out on Friday, shows that falling candidate availability and spiralling salary growth remains a concern as businesses bid against each other to secure skilled staff.  This has a huge implication on businesses going through change.  Mismanage it and you may haemorrhage staff.

An operational change management process can’t be achieved on reflection afterwards, putting in place successful strategies to manage change communication is not an easy undertaking, but has to be done.  To achieve this, there are a number of actions that will necessitate a thorough planning process:


1) Understand the results of previous change and learn the lessons

2) Involve managers and leaders from the beginning

3) Recognise who the champions are and who may be saboteurs.  Work with and use them

4) Plan a thorough change process timetable with clear deliverables

5) Assemble an effective multichannel communications system

6) Provide support and coaching for line managers to lead employees through the change.

7) Put in place a robust “check and balance” system to be able to make tweaks as you move along

​Organisational change is crucial to the commercial success of any organisation.  But people won’t seek out that change, they will resist it and will prefer the status quo.  The general election has confirmed that people are comfortable with what they know, even if it isn’t perfect.  Any change has to be compelling and the individual taken on a journey.