people, Marcia Zidle, VoiceAmerica


Whether intended or not, CEO Melissa Mayer’s declaration to collaborate in person rather than cooperate virtually is turning Yahoo into a large-scale laboratory overhauling its corporate culture. According to Works in Progress, it’s like building a brand new workforce from scratch – a team of thousands at that.

Whether you agree or not with the policy regarding telecommuting, the bigger issue that I see is now that the decision is made, how do you make it work?Change, whether it is seen as good or bad, is disruptive because it challenges the status quo. As human beings, we tend to like things the way they are. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar. So how do you, as a leader, get people’s “buy in” to the changes that are necessary for your business survival and success?

Here are three reasons people resist change and tactics to turn them around.

1. Surprise, surprise!
Managers frequently make this mistake when introducing change. They wait until all the decisions are made and then spring them on unsuspecting employees. The first response, of most people to something totally new and unexpected, is resistance.

Give people advance notice! Then, they can have time to adjust their thinking and, begin planning for the change. How much was this a surprise to Yahoo employees? Was a compelling business case made for the change? How was it communicated to them?

2. Loss of control
Change is exciting, when it’s done by us; threatening, when it’s done to us. If people feel out of control, they are more likely to resist by excess complaining, by dragging their feet or by becoming territorial.

Get people involved! Although a specific change has been decided by management, those affected can have input in its implementation. What decisions have already been made about the change–the how, what, when and where – and what ones will be made by the Yahoo employees?

3. Ripple Effect
Change tends to be perceived by employees as requiring more energy, more time, and probably more work. In fact, change does required, in many instances, above-and-beyond efforts. Change may also disrupt scheduled plans, projects and even personal and family lives.

Provide needed support and possibly extra compensation for the extra work of change. Acknowledge people for their effort; offer days off after the crunch; celebrate big and little successes throughout the change. Being sensitive to people’s lives helps them get on and stay on board the change train that’s rumbling through your organization. What support will Yahoo provide in this transition?

Change in one way or another is inevitable if a company is going to stay competitive but the way it is handled (or not handled) can make all the difference as to whether or not it will be embraced or fought every step of the way.


Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge ( on the VoiceAmerica Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, ( brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.

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