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Rooting out resistance

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Q. I was hired two years ago to develop and implement a quality-control system. The owner has delegated all the responsibility to me and does not provide any visible support in my efforts. I’m frustrated to the point of leaving. How can I bring about positive change in a small company where everyone is resisting?

A. Why is everyone resisting? Once you know that, you can lead them forward. They may prefer the status quo because it’s safe and easy, and they may fear change because they figure it will result in more work for less pay. Investigate their concerns and demonstrate that you understand them before you try to persuade them to change. And don’t spend another minute worrying about the owner’s lack of support. While it’s a boost to have the top dog play an active role, that’s not needed. Here’s what is required: Persuade quietly behind closed doors. Work on the most influential employee, the one others look up to. Get that person to buy into your change efforts, and others will follow.

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