Resistance To Change

Meme – Resistance to Change

Some people like things the way they are.

Not everyone wants the world to change.  Even projects with great possibilities for an organization and its customers can be viewed through skeptical eyes by the individuals who must actually live with change.

Its important not to dismiss this discomfort and opposition and mere obstructionism.  When people push back on change they are often working from legitimate concerns for their future or deeply felt emotions.

1)      Organizational Gain / Individual Loss:  The status quo benefits many people.  Change that is good for the organization can still result in real losses for specific individuals.  A person may loose their job, find their skills and knowledge devalued, or see their place in the power structure upset.   Without something to replace these lost professional assets, the new idea will be a net negative on a personal level. 

2)      Hard Work / Hassle:  Change is a messy difficult job.   Even if a person doesn’t lose anything in the deal, they may feel very little reason to put in a great deal of effort.   This may be their job, but chances are they already have a full time job.  

3)      Uncertainty / Discomfort:  A re-invented future is filled with unanswered questions.   Change puts people on edge.  Expect some people to see the worry and uncertainty rather than the excitement and vision.

Don’t expect people to work against their own personal interest.   Understand the source of the opposition and then Find A Pony In The Deal.   Part of the job of an innovation team is to find win-win paths for as many people as possible, so that it will be in their own personal best interest to  support the endeavor.  


Give everyone a personal reason for change. 

Good Reads: 

Who Moved My Cheese?

Brainstorming Questions

  • Is this person feeling good about the possibility of change?
  • If not, why don’t they want this to happen?
  • What can you give them in the deal to make the change appealing?
  • How can the “pony” be built into their future plans, so that there’s no backing out later?
  • If the person cannot be given a win-win situation (or will not accept one), what can be done to neutralize their affect on the project?

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