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Losing Operational Talent?

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Losing Operational Talent?

​One of the primary reasons senior operational talent within the manufacturing sector begins to consider making a move is due to resistance to change and the implementation of improvements.

Resistance to Change and Implementation of Improvements

Common Experience:

Senior operational talent often encounters significant resistance when attempting to implement changes and improvements. This resistance can manifest in several ways:

Cultural Inertia:

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" Mentality: Many manufacturing organisations have deeply ingrained cultures resistant to change. Employees and middle management may prefer sticking to familiar processes, even if they are inefficient, simply because they have always been done that way.

Comfort with Status Quo: There is often a comfort in routine and a reluctance to adopt new methods or technologies, even when they promise substantial improvements.

Investment in Change Theories vs. Action:

Heavy Investment in Planning: Organisations may invest heavily in the theory and reasoning behind changes, conducting thorough analyses and collating extensive data to support decisions.

Failure to Execute: Despite this significant investment in planning and preparation, when it comes time to implement these changes, there is a tendency to revert to established practices. The end result is that innovative ideas and strategies are shelved in favour of the familiar.

Leadership and Decision-Making Challenges:

Lack of Commitment from Top Management: Successful change often requires strong backing from senior leadership. When top management is not fully committed or is risk-averse, proposed changes are less likely to be implemented.

Decision Paralysis: In some cases, the sheer volume of data and analysis can lead to decision paralysis, where no action is taken due to fear of making the wrong move.

Resource Allocation Issues:

Insufficient Resources: Even when there is a willingness to change, there may be insufficient resources allocated to support the implementation of new processes or technologies.

Competing Priorities: Operational improvements might compete with other priorities, leading to a de-prioritisation of change initiatives.

Employee Resistance:

Fear of Job Loss: Employees may fear that changes will lead to job losses or require them to acquire new skills, leading to resistance.

Lack of Buy-in: Without proper communication and involvement in the change process, employees may not buy into the need for change, viewing it as unnecessary or disruptive.

Impact on Senior Operational Talent

Frustration and Disengagement:

Feeling Undervalued: Senior operational managers may feel their expertise and efforts are undervalued when their change initiatives are consistently blocked or reversed.

Lack of Fulfilment: The inability to see through improvements and make a meaningful impact can lead to job dissatisfaction and a sense of unfulfillment.

Professional Stagnation: When efforts to drive progress are stymied, it can feel like professional growth is being hindered, leading to a desire to seek opportunities elsewhere where their skills and ideas will be more appreciated and utilised.


Resistance to change within the manufacturing sector is a significant factor prompting senior operational talent to seek new opportunities. This issue not only stifles innovation but also leads to high levels of frustration and disengagement among those who are passionate about driving improvements. Addressing this resistance by fostering a more change-friendly culture, ensuring strong leadership commitment, and effectively managing resources and communication can help retain top talent and drive organisational growth.