Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.72 How to Use Resistance to Help Change

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In every organisations, there are resistors, naysayers, caves, etc who "dig in the heels and fight at every turn". No matter how well planned your change effort is, there will always be resistors. You need to be able to accept them, plan for them and use them to help you handle the change process. Usually most change processes try to overcome employee resistance by building a sense of urgency, creating alignment and empowerment, providing the communications, etc. Remember: the resistors are helping you identify areas that could need attention.


Some useful questions:

. Where would resistance be most harmful? In what areas could it be crippling during a change process? (Give top priority to these areas of resistance)

. Where might resistance have spreading power? (In every organisation there are individuals whose influence extends well beyond their roles; these individuals need to be identified and their stance on the change initiative identified)

. Where might resistance be the deepest or most profound? Who has the most to lose?

. How would you turn a resister into a supporter? (Need to deconstruct the resister's objections and rebuild their point of view by understanding their core beliefs that could be encouraging resistance and then recasting the obstacles as opportunities)

(source: Paul Michelman, 2007)

In addition, acknowledging resistance can help

"...acknowledging that people might not want to do something validates their autonomy. It highlights that, rather than being forced to do something, they are making a free choice. Recognising the resistance, and honouring it, makes people more willing to change..."
Johan Berger, 2021


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