In my role as a consultant, I’ve seen a lot of confusion inside client organizations over the years. What I’ve come to realize is that resistance often masquerades as confusion. Sometimes, it’s just easier to claim confusion rather than make the effort to engage.
It’s a familiar scene: a new objective, strategy or process is rolled out. An individual or an entire team hears it, processes it and then asks some typical questions: “Why are we doing this?”; What will we do now?”; “How will we do this?”; and very often, “ Why do I/we have to change?” From their perspective, everything is working fine. They think that maybe if they keep doing it the old way, they can play the “I was confused” card and, at the very least, buy some time.
Of course confusion is a poor excuse, but one that puts the spotlight on the importance for leaders to be crystal clear at every phase of action or change. When leaders start with answering the “why”—by clearly articulating the thinking, relevance and vision of a plan, strategy or change—they best ensure that the people affected or responsible understand the rationale from the very beginning. With this clarity, they have a much higher likelihood of acceptance, participation and success.