Resistance in the workplace has an impact on more than morale; it also censors creativity, stalls innovation and blocks new ideas from making it to the boardroom, let alone the whiteboard. So how can you overcome resistance to new ideas?
#1: Understand where resistance comes from
There are many good, valid reasons (and a few bad ones) that people use to stop new ideas in their tracks. Usually, they come in the form of a question: What if this doesn’t work? How am I supposed to do this? Are we allowed to do this? Do we even have the time to get it done? Resistance is born out of uncertainty and usually bred by mistrust. But understanding the natural anxieties that come along with doing something completely different can help you overcome them.
#2: Give permission to try something new
Even if you’re just brainstorming, let your colleagues know you’re open to trying a different approach, and give yourself the same free pass. Making sure that people feel their ideas (grandiose or small) are welcome to the table does wonders for idea innovation. And encouraging constructive feedback hones those ideas from lofty to laudable.
#3: Assume positive intent
Okay, maybe you don’t personally like the person coming up with the ideas at said table. But take a minute to assume he or she has the best interests of the company at heart. Assuming positive intent (thinking the best of your co-worker’s intentions) is a strategy that works; assuming that someone’s ideas or concerns are valid challenges us all to be more creative on how to move the idea forward.
#4: Weigh the business logic
Sometimes people who are chronically resistant to new ideas have lost sight of the goals and strategy of the organization — or don’t even know what they are. If the business strategy has changed under new management, the ideas on how to do business are bound to change, too. Will this idea open new markets? Increase sales? Engage clients? Look at the logic from the bottom line’s perspective to measure its validity.
All of these ideas revolve around the driving forces of innovation: vision, trust, teamwork and an organizational commitment to taking risks. Overcoming resistance to new ideas takes practice, but an open culture of collaboration from the top-down sets the standard.
Looking for more ways to generate friendly, helpful policies that everyone in your company can follow? Check out our quick step-by-step guide to expense reporting.