Resistance: A stranglehold on business

A4It is not always easy for people to change, but because the business world is constantly changing and evolving, it is essential that your business will adapt to these changes or go under. Real resistance to change does occur in many small businesses and it manifests in ideas that amount to nothing and initiatives that are not carried through.

To have a conservative approach about business is one thing, but to refuse to adapt to changes in technology, customer needs and the market may be futile for your business, especially if your competitors are willing to make the necessary changes in their enterprises. Rick Maurer, an organisational consultant and author of “Beyond the Wall of Resistance”, declares that 70% of organisational change will fail due to resistance from employees. He suggests the following steps to identify resistance and break down the barriers to facilitate change. 

  1. Identify resistance

The signs of resistance are often either blatant criticism or a very easy yes – both potentially harmful to your company. Employees might say yes because they did not quite understand the scope of the changes, and they agreed because they don’t want to give offense or be labelled as uncooperative. Take time to ensure that every employee understands exactly what would be expected of them in the new phase and what the changes entail, else the yes-votes may quickly change to long term, undermining, passive-aggressive resistance. 

  1. Identify the reasons

Resistance from employees is normally due to three reasons. Ranging from least to most severe: they don’t understand what and why; they don’t like the idea; they don’t like you. Every time you find that a business initiative has stalled or a project did not reach its maximum potential, you will probably find one employee who harboured thoughts of resistance regarding that particular process or project. 

  1. Fix it

If your employees don’t grasp the essence of the change, you will have to find a way to persuade them of its merits. Instead of simply repeating yourself, try a different approach or additional training. If they don’t like the idea, one of them will probably find an aspect of the project intimidating or uncomfortable. Try to see their viewpoint – this might help in presenting the information in such a way that their worries and apprehensions are addressed. If it’s you they don’t like, be direct and ask them what the problem is. If you think that trust is a problem, use an anonymous survey with space for personal comments to find out what the real reasons behind the resistance are.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. 






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IC Marais

Professional experience:

IC Marais is a certified CA (SA) with public sector and private sector technical knowledge based on 5 years’ Public Sector accounting, auditing and financial management experience and 5 years audit, tax and accounting experience. Detailed knowledge of private and public sector accounting and auditing standards (GRAP, IPSAS, IFRS, IAS, ISA) and public sector financial legislation (MFMA, etc.)

He enjoys the outdoors, hunting and fishing.


Professional experience:

In 1995, Schalk started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and then Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007) in Bloemfontein. In 1998, Schalk was appointed as manager at Moores Rowland, where he became a partner in 2003. Schalk received his Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Taxation in 2006 and in 2009 he received his Certificate in the Administration of Estates.


Professional experience:

Cedric started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007), Bloemfontein, in 1986. After completion of his articles, he joined the Special Investigations Division of the Department of Finance (SA Revenue Services) as a senior inspector from 1990 to 1991.


Professional experience:

Lucha started her career as a tax inspector at the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand. After this she worked in commerce in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

On her return to South Africa, she completed her CA training contract with us and has been with Newtons ever since. She became a Partner in 2012.

Apart from her CA(SA) qualification she also holds a postgraduate certificate in Advanced Taxation (2005) and has the overall responsibility for training as our Training Officer.