Understanding and Using Resistance – in Business Transformations Using SCM 3.0


19 years ago, when studying for MBA, our Professor in Change Management, Dexter Dunphy told us that Change Management is nothing but management of downside. I understood that his point was every change has a downside – and as a change manager, the most important job you have to do is to understand the downside of the change being proposed, and manage it well enough. When I became a management consultant with a top-tier strategy house after my MBA, I took his dictum to heart, and it served me well through several change management projects. Those who were most affected by change appreciated the fact that the change was managed in a sensitive and caring manner – rather than imposed abruptly.

After a few years, when we started our current boutique consulting house, I started to notice another pattern. This was that many companies could accelerate their change management by skipping one entire generation of Supply Chain Management (SCM) in their efforts to make their businesses more modern. In other words, change management would entail moving from SCM 0.0 to SCM 1.0 or from SCM 1.0 to SCM 2.0 or from SCM 2.0 to SCM 3.0. On the other hand, many companies would want to take up an accelerated path – jumping 2 steps at a time – e.g. SCM 0.0 to SCM 2.0 or from SCM 1.0 to SCM 3.0.

This enabled them to frequently leapfrog their competitors, and transform their businesses rapidly and systematically. This was nothing different from many companies skipping a generation of Microsoft Windows when they upgraded their operating systems – for example skipping Windows Vista and jumping from Windows XP to Windows 7.0. The reasons were different, yet the methods were similar.

While change management entailed managing the downside for those who were affected by change, business transformation was more about understanding and managing resistance. By now, downside management has already become a big enough industry – just look at the number of large outplacement consulting houses, HR consultancies, and the booming business they do through the ups and downs of business cycles. Business Transformations will lead to a second boom in these.

If a business keeps up with the SCM evolution and moves with it, there will be a greater need for leadership training, corporate cultural adjustment, collaboration training and less outplacement and redundancies. And, there will be a need for understanding, managing and using resistance to further business transformation. What is the nature of resistance? What is the reason? How to identify 4 different types of resistance? How to use resistance to accelerate positive business transformations? That will be the topic of my next blog.

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Vivek Sood

I write about "The Supply Chain CEOs", "The 5-STAR Business Networks", and, how to "Unchain Your Corporation". In my work, I help create extraordinary corporate results using several 'unique' supply chain methodologies. Contact me for interesting, high impact projects, or, to get access to my IP for creating transformations using these methodologies.

  • Zane Logistics says:

    There is no doubt in your study Mr. Sood about having vast knowledge about supply chain it is appreciable to use and follow your SCM 3.0

    Managing resistance to change is challenging for many reasons. Resistance to change can be covert or overt, organized or individual. Employees can realize that they don’t like or want a change and resist publicly, verbally, and argumentatively.

    Employees resist change when it is introduced poorly to them, when it affects how they do their work, and when they don’t see the need for the changes. They also experience resistance to change when they are not involved in the decision to change, or at least, in making up the specific steps in the changes as they will affect them.

  • Joshua says:

    Very clear clarification for resistance in Business Transformations. I’ll be waiting for the upcoming blog to know more about “What is the nature of resistance? What is the reason? How to identify 4 different types of resistance?”

    • Zane Logistics says:

      Every few months, a slew of articles and blog posts come out addressing the universal issue of getting stakeholder buy-in or obtaining the ever elusive sign-off on your design. They provide great advice regarding building relationships, utilizing preventative measures, and remembering to be patient.

  • Charles Alkan says:

    Today’s rapidly changing market demands elasticity and flexibility from people, processes and technology. In the current economy, change is the only thing that is consistent and we must change in order to adapt to this constant. Change management in any organization should be an ongoing process. Just like the supply chain industry in general, business processes should be constantly shifting and growing to meet customer demands. This is why it is critical to have a change management strategy in place.

  • Duck Valentin says:

    Look at your organization’s current resources and articulate, is it appropriate to move forward in the process? If the answer is yes, you are ready to make the change. The next step for you now is preparing both the organization and the people in it. Fortunately, organization preparation is the simple half of the puzzle. Most organizations will complete a cost analysis and risk assessment so they know what the possible outcomes of the change are. They will then create a detailed plan for the different stages that will take place over a given timeline.

  • Adam says:

    Organizations and employees rarely take to change so easily. That’s because resistance to change is a natural human instinct. This raises a problem: In today’s market, change is critical to success. Organizations cannot survive if they are slow to innovate or lack business agility. That’s why effectively mitigating resistance to change is a critical skill for management and survival in current era.

  • Alan Nelson says:

    What is resistance to change and why does it occur? To put it simply, change is scary, and challenging. Maintaining an existing habit is easier than changing. Trying something new means there is a possibility of failure. Most people prefer to stay in their comfort zone than venture into unknown territory. Even individuals who claim to enjoy change may find it challenging in the workplace. After all, choosing to make a change in one’s personal life is very different than accepting top-down organizational change. Resistance to change in the workplace occurs because most often employees don’t have a choice. This triggers a sense of lost control and uncertainty.

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