It’s inevitable. When your organization is undergoing change, you will meet resistance. There will be those employees who want nothing to do with the change and are comfortable with the status quo. Statistics show that 15-20% of employees will be the naysayers who are resistant to the change. On the other hand, 15-20% of your employee population will typically be happy about the upcoming changes. They are the “keeners,” the ones who are gung-ho, roll up their sleeves, and will happily help you meet the new mandates. The remaining 60-70% are neutral. They are in the middle, and want to wait and see what happens. These statistics represent a typical bell curve.

With such a high percentage of employees either resistant or neutral, gaining support for organizational change is certainly a challenge for most organizations.

The Biggest Mistake You Can’t Afford To Make

The real secret to successfully managing change is to establish and communicate enough early successes so that the keeners, the champions of change, have positive evidence to share with the “undecided” population. The ability to sway this neutral majority toward the positive side of the bell curve is paramount.

The biggest mistake you can make then, is to not establish those early successes. Without them, the naysayers can start to influence the “undecideds” and it will make it that much more difficult to convince employees that the change is in fact, positive for the organization.

This may seem like a small thing, and is a trap many leaders have fallen victim to before. In my experience, if you want to succeed, you must identify, celebrate and communicate these milestones and accomplishments to all levels of the organization. Celebrate early, celebrate often!