SharePoint Information Governance – part 6: Dealing with Resistance to Change Management in SharePoint–10 Tips


As in any aspect of SharePoint change is ever present.  I like to think of SharePoint as the Vehicle of Change or at least it can be.  Many folks fail to

Tip 1: Resistance to change.

One of the first challenges many folks face is understanding that change is only achieved thru PEOPLE. Yes the audience of change are the same folks who have to use it.  So you need to consider what those folks are doing.  You cannot force change onto a team that is working on year end deal lines, or product role-outs.  Consider a few of the following reasons for resistance to change:

    • Timeline
    • Change of policy or process that are tribal or inherited over time
    • Skill set of employees
    • Tools being used currently

Concerns about retention of employees

Do you think folks are going to be excited about the new software you want them to use, if they think it is going to replace them….seriously.  You need to consider how you are presenting to solution.

Tip 2: Stability.

Is the solution you implementing, is the change going to offer stability?  In many cases SharePoint is being brought in to unify process or create a workflow to streamline a chaotic process.  Show examples of how stability can be achieved, give them ways to recommend methods or process that would show stability.  It is very critical here to also get executive buy in on the stability of this platform.  You do not want to be seen as another tool, that will come and go.

Tip 3: Communication.

So a person will be very resistant to change if they have no idea how that change will effect them.  In the business world it really is ME FIRST.  So it is critical to communicate, share knowledge, provide clear channels of communication to the troops, and also for the troops to communicate to you!

Tip 4: Provide a Outlet to question.

So an amazing consideration is provide a forum or discussion board for people to ask questions, voice concerns, generally vent there point of view,,,but in a creative and effective way.  If you do not give them a way to do this, it will happen thru non-approved channels….last thing you want is emails, or water cooler rants that are not visible, and cannot be addressed correctly.  RUMORS KILL CHANGE.

Tip 5: Bring Cake.

Now I will have to say, “pastries will sooth the savage beast”, if you are going to have work sessions, or very stressful meetings where there will be conflict…..bring food.  It is amazing how often simple snacks, and drinks keep peoples blood sugars and nerves calm.  Consider your audience you may need to be considerate of allergies, or medical conditions so do some research and be considerate.

Tip 6: Encourage Involvement.

In many cases the best way to get people to embrace change is getting them involved in the planning process.  If a person is engaged and gets vested in the change that is going to effect them, they will be less averse to the implementation.  I am not saying it always works, but a champion of a process is less likely to criticize or be put down a process.  I like to get this part going early, but not to early.  Make sure you have a solid understanding of the change needed, possible options to achieve it, and what the possible results would be.  If you go in to early this can be more destructive then beneficial.  Consider your audience, and focus on those who are key to the process you plan to change.

Tip 7: No one man show, work in teams.

So getting change implemented in an organization is not generally something one person can achieve.  You may try, but generally unless you are the CEO you are going to hit some pretty big roadblocks telling departments what to do, or changing there process as an outsider.  TEAMS, yep get key stakeholders to be part of your change team.  Now you might have many teams or project teams working on different areas of a SharePoint deployment, or Custom Solution deployment.

With this you may also consider the broad skillsets, roles in the organizations, and knowledge of the specific change you want effected.  It is always beneficial to have the Subject Matter Expert of the process are part of your team implementing the changes to the process.

Tip 8: All In.

So in many organizations you will get buy-off and general consensus for many folks, however get EVERYONE is not always possible or even plausible.  I like to take a All In approach initially when I start a project, a belief that everyone is going to love it, embrace it, and use it.  That however is nearly never true.  So do not set an expectation that everyone will be on board.  Plan for some conflict or negative view of the change.  Don’t take negativity personally, some folks will get very passionate to you changing a process they have been using for 15 years.

Tip 9:  Plan, Plan, Plan

So in real estate the rule is Location, Location, Location…well in SharePoint the rule is Plan, Plan, Plan. Now I want to first stay you can definitely over plan.  This is referred to “Paralysis via Analysis”.  Now the reason this is Tip 9, is that the above tips all lead to this, you cannot have good communication unless you know who to communicate with.  You cannot get teams involved unless you know who are the stakeholders.  You cannot know what your change will be, or how it will be effective unless you understand the current process.

Tip 10: Resistance Is Futile. Chuck Norris says so!

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So the reason for this last tip is simple.  If your CEO says do it, are you really going to sit and complain.  Nope.  If you have an antiquated 20 year old process on paper that can be replaced by a 3 minute SharePoint workflow, do you think you can really justify the old process. Nope.  Sometimes you will just need to pull out the big guns and say, sorry change is happening, get over it.  If they ask why, just say “Chuck Norris says so!”

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One Reply to “SharePoint Information Governance – part 6: Dealing with Resistance to Change Management in SharePoint–10 Tips”

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