If you’re on my email list, you’re probably a changemaker. And if you’re leading any kind of change, I bet that means you’re getting pushback – resistance – feeling like you’re Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill (on your best days) or just beating your head against the wall (on your worst days).
Lucky for you, I’ve been there too. And so have many of the leaders I work with. Here’s what they tell me about their experiences.
“I know there are people in my agency who think they can just wait me out. They believe they won’t have to adapt to the new strategy because I’ll get frustrated and leave first.”
“I’m surrounded by Eeyores! You know that character from Winnie-the-Pooh? My team loves to imagine all the ways pursuing our new bold goal will lead to absolute failure. What if we lose our biggest funders? What if we can’t get enough volunteers to make this happen? Schools will never pay for the that many kids to attend our program. Just once I’d like to hear why this plan will work instead of why it won’t.”
“She sits in my office and says she’s on board with the new ways of engaging colleagues across campus. Then she walks out the door and does the exact opposite of what we’ve agreed.”
These quotes reflect how I define the three types of resistance to change.
- What-If-ers. These folks are doomsday planners. They’re experts at dreaming up all the ways your change ideas can and will go wrong.
- Status Quo Defenders. They love saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” To them, nothing is ever broken.
- Yes Women/Men. They say they’re in, but their actions say they’re out. (But is it lack of will or lack of way? There are actually four sub-types to this one!)
If you’re still reading at this point, you’re probably saying, “Yes Nancy. This is all great, but I LIVE these types of resistance every day. I know them well. Tell me what to do about them!”
Here you go.
For the What-If-ers . . . Invite them to help with scenario planning – solving the problems they assume will come up. Get them out of problem-imagining mode and into problem-solving mode. There are a few different tools that work really well for this.
For the Status Quo Defenders . . . Don’t insult them by being overly critical of the way things are. Instead, break their love affair with nostalgia by painting a picture of the future so compelling they want to be part of making it real. A sense of urgency and opportunity helps too.
For Yes Women and Men. . . First you need to understand if it’s “will” or “way” that’s stopping them from aligning action with words. Then you can identify the consequences or capacity to solve for it.
Want to learn more?
Join me for a free online training, Friday, Oct 5, 2:00-3:30 pm EDT. Click here to register.
On the webinar we’ll dive deeper into the types of resistance and cover lots of tips and tools for overcoming them. All participants will receive a free download of my Congruence Checklist tool.
This is a hot topic for the change agents in my network! Space is limited for this webinar. Claim your spot now.
P.S. This training is part of program I piloted this year called the Intrapreneurs Influence Lab. Click here to learn more and get on my list for early notification when applications for the 2019 program open up later this fall.