How to Overcome Resistance to Process Improvement

Hilary Corna
3 min readNov 10, 2023

Resistance to process improvement is a common challenge that I’ve seen in many organizations I’ve worked with. It’s not surprising since people are hardwired to resist change. Getting them to unlearn a behavior that has been built upon for years is not going to happen overnight.

Understanding why people resist process improvement initiatives

In process improvement, you are not just giving people a checklist to follow. You are changing the way they think. Other than the fear of change, resistance to process improvement may be due to a lack of understanding of the benefits of process improvement and a perceived lack of time or resources to implement changes.

There is also the underlying cultural challenge of differences in belief. Your people might not feel the need to change or improve anything at the moment. This is especially true when things are calm and quiet.

It’s much easier to implement process improvement if people feel the pain and are being pushed to their limits. There is less resistance. But you don’t have to wait for fire and chaos to improve. It’s better to change when there is nothing wrong.

Whatever the reason for people’s resistance to process improvement, what matters is that you can address it properly.

Effective ways to overcome resistance to process improvement

Your employees are a vital component of a successful process improvement effort, and their contributions and commitment are essential to achieving lasting and meaningful change. Here are ways to overcome resistance and get your employees’ buy-in:

Communicate the need for change

It is important to communicate the reasons for the process improvement to all stakeholders, including employees. This will help them understand why the changes are necessary and how they will benefit the organization.

Involve employees

Involve your employees in the process improvement efforts, including identifying the areas that need improvement and designing the solutions. This will help to build their buy-in and commitment…

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Hilary Corna

CEO | Founder of The Human Way | Bestselling Author | New book #UNprofessional out 9/21 | Host of the UNprofessional podcast | As seen in Forbes, Fortune, WSJ