4 Common Barriers to Change Management—And How to Overcome Them

Posted August 14, 2019

6 min read

If you sat down and told your team you were adopting a new technology that was going to change how they worked, how would they react?

Whether it’s moving from a former system to CRäKN, or whether it’s moving from paper to CRäKN, we’re here to help you successfully manage that change.

The aim? You want to be able to make lasting change your team can be energized and positive about.

Here are 4 of the top, often-ignored barriers to implementing change (individually and as a team) and how you can deal with each:

Barrier #1: Perceived lack of time

Many times people know and want to implement change in their funeral home, but they believe they don’t have the time required for implementing the change.

The reality is that any sort of change can and should be built into your business plan and your everyday work.

In other words, it doesn’t have to be thought of as an “add on” to your current workload. Instead, consider how a well-planned change management initiative can (and ought to be) fully integrated with your operations (1).

Often, the idea of “I’m just too busy for this now…” or, “We’ll get to this next quarter…” is really due to fear or a form of procrastination. Instead of fearing or avoiding the uncertainty, make as much as you can certain about the process—through planning, checklists, communication, proper accountability, and the right support.

Barrier #2: No milestones

Even with the smoothest transitions, people need to be able to evaluate and see progress towards their goal. That also means that the end goal, and the desired outcomes, need to be as clear as possible to begin with!

To put yourself in the best position to have momentum throughout a change management project, make sure you:

  • Clarify and document what outcomes are anticipated
  • Clarify and document what will change for each and every person
  • Create and always follow-through with check-ins and/or progress updates
  • Take steps to show and measure progress, even if not at a pre-determined “milestone” or check-in
  • Constantly communicate and hold yourself accountable—no exceptions
  • Aim for an early milestone (such as after 21 days) to achieve and to celebrate as a team

Barrier #3: The ‘resister’

Maybe they think it will mean more work for them—especially during the start of the transition. Or maybe they feel surprised you’re adopting a new tool or process since they’ve been working the same way for years and years. Or, perhaps they had a bad experience the last time you implemented some form of new technology or tool.

No matter their reason for seeing change as a threat, the so-called “resister” is the person who resists change. This is someone who can jeopardize your ability to effectively implement change.

You can deal with this person (or people) by helping to address their perceived threats.

For example, there are a few common reasons people immediately resist change:

  • They think it will mean more work
  • They believe they aren’t competent with technology so they fear the proposed change
  • They don’t understand why the change is happening
  • They’ve seen other ideas come and go without implementation
  • They weren’t included in the decision, and feel like they should have been

…The list may go on and on. Even though the complaints of naysayers can be troubling, you can manage them. Here are a few tips for dealing with people who seem to want to hold on to the status quo:

  • Anticipate some of their reasons for opposing change and deal with them head-on. Have an open, candid, and healthy conversation where you invite them to share concerns. Be ready to address issues and you can always follow-up on issues you don’t have immediate answers for. The goal: you want them to move towards being more open—and eventually committed—to the change.
  • Insist that every single person embrace the new technology or process, at all times, once the transition starts. Don’t allow for anyone to look back, and never slide on that commitment. It’s up to team members to hold each other accountable, not leadership. Make sure people see this as a true team effort.
  • Insist that there be no unjust negativity regarding the new processes. Constructive feedback is encouraged, but does need to be constructive and productive. Together, you can define what that looks like for your team. Negative attitudes should never be tolerated.
  • Stay consistent. Help the resisters have a greater sense of control by keeping things consistent and clear as much as you can. This can help them maintain energy commitment.
  • Keep asking for feedback from them. Be open to hearing what they have to say, every step of the way. This is critical in helping them stay on the same page and helping them to have the confidence they may be lacking.

Barrier #4: Lack of clarity on how work currently gets done

Change management can’t happen as rigorously or as smoothly as possible if your current way of working lacks clear structure or if it lacks predictability.

Ever feel like things at your firm are…well, a bit chaotic? Or maybe you’ve wondered how someone could have dropped the ball or missed a major detail. If that sounds like your funeral home at one time or another, it may mean you need to capture your current way of operating.

Consider taking these steps:

  • In general, if (or when) something breaks down, don’t seek to blame a person. Instead, realize the problem may be in the system, not with that person. It may be a training opportunity for them, but avoid the tendency to blame an individual on your team. Give them the benefit of the doubt—before, during, and after your change management initiative, too.

  • Capture your current way of working at your funeral home in a visual format. If you can’t currently capture the way work is done, it’s going to be difficult to plan how that process will change! You can start by getting clear on the steps (or tasks) people have each day. Involve everyone and start with the high level view, then get more specific.

  • Once you “map” out the way work typically gets done, see how your processes work together. Ask people about the “why” behind their approach, if you haven’t already. What would make their work easier or simpler? Where do they sometimes see breakdowns in the current way your firm operates? What do they feel could be more efficient? Again, the time you spend here will be valuable when all of these processes transition during your change management initiative.

Don’t Let Any (Perceived) Barriers to Implementing a Change Initiative Hold Back Your Funeral Home

CRäKN’s Customer Success team knows the pressure people often feel when it comes to adopting new tools. That’s why your dedicated Customer Success team helps you and your team feel confident every step of the way—helping you to plan, communicate, and hit all your milestones during the change management process.

We’re here to help you implement CRäKN so you can optimize how you work and so you can see your business grow. Want to learn more about CRäKN’s efficiency tools? Request a demo of CRaKN today.


  1. https://hbr.org/2013/04/change-management-needs-to-cha

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