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Strategies Of Negotiation For Change Management – Accusations Audit

Strategies of Negotiation for Change Management – Accusations Audit

Over the past couple of week’s we’ve looked at techniques that can help in negotiating Change Management. These are particularly useful in situations of resistance as they help establish a basis of trust between all parties working towards a common goal of achieving a mutually beneficial outcome.

At the start of the series we highlighted that as emotions become more apparent through discussions, as a change enabler we should:

  1. work to deactivate negative feelings, feelings of fear, suspicion, anger, aggression and distrust;
  2. and aim to magnify positive emotions, building trust, comfort and rapport.

But how do we prepare for these tough conversations with employees who are struggling with change?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at various strategies that can be helpful in preparation for these situations, starting with doing an Accusations Audit.

When you’re preparing for a meeting in which resistance to change is the point of discussion, it would be helpful to perform what is called an accusations audit. This means creating a comprehensive list of all of the negative assumptions, thoughts and feelings you think the resistant employees will bring to the table. 

This audit will require you to be bold, it demands fearless and creative brainstorming in drawing up this list. It requires you to be exhaustive in unpacking all possible concerns and negative emotions the other party may be experiencing. At this point, it would be beneficial to call on other members of the change team for their input. 

By doing this, you’ll be able to prepare a response to these points as they’re raised. Presenting these prepared responses during discussions will give the other party confidence that you have thought through these concerns and are either aware of, or prepared to deal with these concerns. Reiterating that you have considered the motivation for the resistance will deepen their trust and prove that the change project is not just a ‘quick fix’, not just another ‘failed change strategy’ but instead a project that has been sufficiently planned for ahead of it’s execution. 

Acknowledging resistance, lessens the impact on the project but also provides confidence that employees can openly communicate their emotions to change. Confronting resistance head on means that all parties involved in the project know that there are existing concerns, fear and uneasiness, but in working together, can fully embrace the transformation.

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