The Management of Change: It's All About the People

By Martyn Best, CEO, Document Direct

Ever since the invention of that round thing that started to move our cave dwelling ancestors away from the comfort and security of their own feet, us humans have been in constant fear and distrust of change and technology. Even this day in age, the introduction of any new process or technology in the workplace comes with a fundamental recognition that there will be a huge resistance to change. Unless you understand this element of the human psyche and build it into your argument, then as sure as dinosaurs became extinct, so will your implementation policy.

It is important to understand what is actually motivating and driving clients, not what the process says should be driving them. It is important to gain their confidence that the 'to be resisted at all cost' change into their world can benefit them. It is important to have them or a trusted colleague on board as a champion or advocate of the cause. It is important to recognize that they will not be rushing to change their comfortable ways of life, that they prefer the warmth of their current cave to those glistening set of wheels, despite the promise of speed, efficiency, and savings.

So, take a deep breath – and enter their cave.

It should have already been proven that the new process or service will work - after all, what are RFP's, ITT's and RFI's for if not to undisputedly show to the capabilities of the wonderful suppliers and they should wholeheartedly follow their procurement advice.

The adoption of new technology or processes in this context is the thoughtful and pre-planned technical understanding that helps overcome this resistance to change. It’s the recognition of human behavior and it helps streamline activities and tasks so that repeatable actions can be guaranteed.

Here are some tactics which should help deliver the best results and overcome this human resistance to change:

  • Find out what they like about the current process, what they tolerate, what they dislike, what they endure due to resigned familiarity, and what they would like to change
  • Ask about the key issues in the current delivery of any outcomes
  • Outline the planned changes, emphasizing the final vision and the clear and hopefully incremental benefits
  • Highlight the outcome and the full range of benefits which will result, focusing on the people, not the machines

A useful mantra to use is in any such approach is the question "And that's a good thing because...?"

For example, the current system may provide return of information within four working days, and this may be a good thing because the fee earner has time to plan other activities. That's fine, but indicates a less than optimum process, whereas the new service might deliver within hours.

The trick is to highlight the benefits, not the features. Rather than focusing on how the technology provides information more quickly, emphasize that it is accessible on demand rather than by default. The benefit that you are highlighting here is not the quicker access to information, but that the good thing is actually the freedom and flexibility this will give the individual.

The greatest source of insight into what is needed for any successful implementation of a new process rests with the current users. An understanding of this and them is essential.

There really is no ongoing battle of human versus machines – it is simply one of choosing the best new resource to improve your process and profitability.

Document Direct

Document Direct is one of the fastest growing companies in UK-based document production and 24/7 support. They are more than just an outsourcing alternative to your typing needs. Their experts have a passion for document production, focusing around the typing, formatting and production of any document, letter, report, or pleading using digital dictation, secure encryption and customized personal service. Click here for more information or visit

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