Vive La Resistance!

One of the greatest challenges to a leader is resistance to change.  While everyone acknowledges the inevitably of change, for some, its introduction triggers a Not In My Backyard reaction.  Change is all well and good short of actually applying it.

It is very rare when leadership would deliberately introduce changes that would lead to some sort of organizational apocalypse (not impossible mind you).  Knowing that a change is to produce some good, an oft quoted strategy is to communicate, communicate, communicate to overcome resistance.  This approach is flawed.

Vive la Resistance!

Resistance to change is not a logical reaction.  Appealing to logic in this case is like explaining to your two year old why it is fine that the peas are touching the potatoes on her plate since they are all going into her stomach.  The facts are irrelevant.

This is not to say that changes should be introduced under the cover of darkness as tempting as that might be on occasion. Nor is quasi-brute force effective as no one likes to be pushed around so it will create more resistance than would otherwise naturally occur.

So what does one do?

Abandon any hope of making a resister a supporter of change.  It is a waste of effort.  It is rare to make a resister a supporter of the change so neutralization should be the objective.

Resistance to change is usually rooted to a belief in how things operate.  The key is to shake those beliefs.  Known as norm disruptions, demonstrating faults in how things are done today prior to the introduction of a change can create enough doubt that a resister will be neutralized.

There is one type you can never win over or neutralize.  These are people whose identity and their job are one in the same.  To change their job is to attack them personally.  A merciful parting of ways may be the only course.

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