Episode 301: The Real Reasons Your Team Won’t Change

Have you ever rolled out a new process to your team only to be disappointed by how few people followed it? Perhaps, you thought about hiring new people and starting a clean slate at one point.

In this week’s episode, I will pull the veil back on some of the real reasons why your team won’t change. And you’d be surprised to know that many of these reasons have very little to do with them.

Let’s dive in!

It Wasn’t the People

While working for a real estate developer managing a $20M industrial building in 2015 or 2016, I learned a valuable lesson that changed how I see people.

We had a building that we were trying to finish during that time, and winter was coming. However, the problem we had was bigger than we thought it was–the parking lot wasn’t finished yet, a lease was already signed with a tenant, bad materials were delivered, and the asphalt plants were shutting down for Christmas.

As the asphalt plant’s shutdown date kept creeping closer, we were at risk of losing six or seven figures if we couldn’t complete the parking lot by then.

So I remember walking into this meeting with the subcontractors, and all I could feel was the negative vibe around the room as we had a big problem to solve, and it would cost everybody something.

These guys have been pushed around and told what to do for months to get the job done immediately, but it wasn’t working.

And so I walked into this room with a plan I’d never tried in my career. Instead of going out there, yelling or threatening people, and drawing circles around dates, I tried a different approach.

And surprisingly, that approach worked! The team and all our trade partners went from being disorganized, angry, and resistant to working together to get the job done.

My biggest takeaway from that was the problem wasn’t the people.

The 5 Reasons Why People Won’t Change

The realization I learned from that $20M project stuck with me. Surprisingly, there are five hidden reasons people don’t want to change, and it has very little to do with them.

After digging through countless research studies and books, I’ve summarized the five real reasons your team resists changes or new processes below.

1. Psychological Reactance

This law states that the harder the other person tries to get you to do something, the less you’re going to want to do it. Experiments were conducted, and researchers found that people were likely to avoid what they were told to choose and choose what they had been told to avoid. That’s how much people dislike being told what to do.

2. The “Why” and WIIFM Deficiencies

One of the reasons why your team won’t embrace new processes (or as simple as using new software that’d simplify their tasks) is because they don’t understand WHY they’re doing it and the “What’s in it for me?”. How is this new software going to help me to be more efficient? What’s in it for me?

3. The Competing Commitment

This psychological dynamic states that what may look like resistance is an application of productive energy toward a hidden competing commitment. You’ll find that the person who won’t collaborate despite a passionate and sincere commitment to teamwork is equally dedicated to avoiding the conflict that naturally arises in any ambitious team activity.

4. Kanter’s Law

This law states that everything looks like a failure when you’re in the middle. People won’t change because while in the middle of achieving a task or project, they run into some unexpected obstacles and prefer to give up because they’re not seeing enough of the possible results.

5. The Shiny Object Syndrome

 This is very common with the visionaries that we talked to. People would right then and there shift gears when they have new ideas to chase instead of taking on the project at hand until the very end.

Now, if you want your team to be fully on board with your new processes so you can get out of the day-to-day firefighting and make your business run without you, listen in or watch the full episode HERE to learn more.

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The Construction Leading Edge Podcast helps construction business owners maximize their revenue, eliminate chaos, systematize their work, and win back their time.

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