In any change process, the dominating theme of management is usually what is perceived as resistance to change. Armies of consultants and organizational psychologists are hired to help “overcome resistance”. In reality people usually do not resist change but they have hopes and fears, and they have concerns, purposes and circumstances. If these are not acknowledged, people stop collaborating. When you feel resistance to change, you should be happy: this is a signal for you. The signal could mean: there is something wrong with the change project, or: the message hasn’t reach the hearts of the people, or: it hasn’t been properly communicated. Or maybe, we haven’t got the right mix of skills and attitudes that we need.
When asked, most people would state that they do not resist to change but the others around them (their staff, their leaders, etc.). Exploring the root causes and starting a genuine dialogue about why it is hard to implement change might be a start...
Questions for Deeper Exploration
- What do we know about people’s perceptions of the proposed change?
- How do we respect people's needs, concerns and circumstances in the change journey?
- Who has been involved in this change journey, and is the cycle of involvement wide enough?
- Is this a change which contradicts our culture, values, principles and maybe even our purpose?