Battling Change Resistance to Promote Lean Management

Change is an undeniable part of the business world. From changing product design to embracing new employee roles, it is almost inevitable that your organization can spend a week or two without experiencing any changes. By embracing lean management to eliminate waste while refining your practices for more profitability, change will be a positive influence in your organization.

In tandem, 70% of businesses’ transformation efforts tend to yield no fruits as long as employees aren’t engaged in them, according to an article on the Forbes. If your employees are often resisting change, then embracing a continuous change environment through lean management will be an uphill task.

Here are a few points on what causes change resistance and how to overcome it in your workplace:

What Causes Change Resistance?

Employees often feel undermined when a change occurs without their involvement. This spawns the lack of trust between the employee and the management, and this mutual mistrust results in potential problems. For instance, a change that causes employees to lose their jobs will make the remaining employees fear the unknown whenever another change occurs.

In other cases, the change is not the problem. The issue might be the timing of the change. Companies that fail to announce and enact any changes while considering the situation of the employees will often fall victim to resistance. The same will also apply to poor delivery of the change message and implementation.

Consequences of Change Resistance

The continuous improvement model that lean management calls for is all to your advantage as a business. With more refined business processes, your business gains a competitive advantage in terms of both price and your products or services. As a result, change resistance often results in a competitive disadvantage.

This resistance hampers communication as the resulting divide might make it challenging for you to introduce your employees to better policies. Employee creativity also takes a hit as they will often feel forced to indulge in the transformation. The team spirit among employees also takes a hit since some will be for change while others are against it.

Identifying Change Resistance Among Employees

Change resistance is an art that the human brain has perfected with time, according to Hrzone. While resistance can at times be easily noticed, in other cases, you might have to dig a little bit deeper to identify it. For instance, you might notice that employees ignore the new rules and continue with their accustomed practices. Alternatively, some employees will actually verbally challenge the change.

In most cases, observing both verbal and nonverbal cues from employees will suffice. Less well-positioned employees will typically miss work, work at a slower pace or even involve themselves in workplace gossip charged towards resisting the change. Simply put, the higher the rank of the employee, the more their resistance will be felt.

Battling This Resistance

The best way to battle change resistance is to build a culture of trust in your workplace. This means that employees should feel involved in the change decision-making process, especially if it will affect them directly. In such an environment, employees can turn into change advocates instead of challengers.

As a result, employees will be willing to ask the top management what they can do to make the change happen while discussing any pain points that they have. This reduced friction solidifies the change management process and improves teamwork among employees. You should also assess the timelines for introducing any change into the organization to ensure that all hands will be on deck.


At its core, lean management is a continuous change meant to refine your business processes while giving you a competitive advantage. Since change resistance will be a looming challenge, it is paramount to fight it by all means necessary. Build a trust culture in your organization to make change acceptance an almost frictionless process.

Pursuing MCA from the University of Delhi, Saurabh Saha is an experienced blogger and internet marketer. Through his popular technology blogs: TechGYD.COM &, he is helping several brands to gain exposure in front of high-quality web visitors.