Introduction

This is the first blog of a two blog series. This blog will serve as an introduction to creating a resistance assessment questionnaire, the next one will be a walkthrough of this process. The resistance assessment will help change managers develop a process to avoid hidden change initiative landmines.

Managing resistance is one of the many factors to consider when implementing an organizational change.  If ignored, it can potentially threaten the success of the project.  To proactively minimize resistance and improve adoption, it is important to understand “what” is causing the resistance.

To proactively minimize resistance and improve adoption, it is important to understand “what” is causing the resistance.

What is a Resistance Assessment Questionnaire?

One way to achieve this objective is to solicit feedback through a resistance assessment questionnaire. For the questionnaire to be effective, it is essential to determine the information you are looking to collect as well as gathering, analyzing, and interpreting the data collected.  In this blog post, we will explore the importance of the questionnaire and the role it plays in resistance management. 

A vital component to getting an accurate pulse on the change is to ensure the resistance is measured throughout the organization by selecting individuals from several demographics – including organizational role, location, and department – otherwise, the results may be flawed.

For example, if HR was rolling out a new performance management tool and the questionnaire only solicited HR personnel, the change may be biased and appear to be well received.  On the other hand, by selecting a diverse group of individuals across the organization, the results from the questionnaire could expose areas of improvement which will allow change managers to quickly respond to any gaps and encourage receptiveness of the change. 

This questionnaire will help gauge your employees’ perception of the change at a specific point. Common areas of questions that will be addressed are:

  • WHO will be affected by the change?
  • WHAT is the change?
  • HOW will their current job be impacted?
  • WHY is the change needed?
  • DO they have the right skills to adapt?

Once the data has been collected, the change managers will want to examine “what” is causing the most resistance as well as develop a plan of action.  For instance, if mid-level managers are showing considerable resistance, then appropriate steps should be taken, such as increasing their knowledge of why the change is needed or the risks to the organization if the change is not implemented.  Another example would be if a large percentage of the respondents disagreed with having the necessary skills or resources available to adapt to the change, then the organization will need to provide training or access to tools to resolve this concern.  After the areas of most resistance have been addressed, it would be ideal to poll another subset of individuals to determine if the level of resistance has improved in these areas.

Creating the Questionnaire

In my second blog, I will walk through the process of creating a simple questionnaire using Microsoft Forms.  After this, I proceed with pushing the submitted responses from Microsoft Forms into an Excel table using Power Automate.  Finally, I summarize the responses into logical data points in additional Excel tables which will then be pulled together into pie, line/stacked, and line/clustered column charts using Power BI.

Here are some screenshots of the questionnaire:

Note: The first section captures key information on the respondent, while the second section captures the respondent’s interpretation and opinion of the change.  Data collected from both sections will be consumed and analyzed to provide insight to change management on specific areas that may require special attention.

Conclusion

In summary, mitigating resistance is key to a successful project.  Understanding what is causing the resistance early on will help improve the support of the change, increase user awareness and adoption, and prevent resistance from happening later in the project.  Collecting feedback through a resistance assessment questionnaire will not only help to identify areas of greatest resistance but will also help to identify early adopters or champions (those with the least resistance) for your organization’s change.

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