To fly we must have resistance
It strikes me that Maya Lin has the right approach to how we view change resistance. We should shift our thinking by focussing on the positive role of resistance to change.
- thrust versus
- weight versus
Resistance to change is not all bad
But what would happen if we actually sought to work with this resistance? If we sought to use this phenomenon to support our change journey? What might we gain from this shift in thinking?
People are reluctant to change because it often means going from the familiar to the unknown. Why would you do this without a compelling reason?
Armed with these insights we are better able to respond to or change our strategy. This is where and why ‘resistors’ are allies and your strategic partners.
Challenge us to explain the why
Resistance challenges us to explore whether a change is actually necessary or workable. They help us see what is useful and important about current work practices. They force us to look at how these important features can be included in the new approach.
Without resistors, we would have unfettered power to change the world of work – with good or bad solutions. Let’s make them better solutions.
Ask us to show our commitment
For many resistors their response is out of frustration with ‘the new and shiny’ trend. They’ve often seen managers and new work practices come and go and they have a ‘healthy cynics’ of the new.
They force us to show that this is not a passing fad, that we mean business.
Stalling for time and space
Resistance forces us to take it slow, listen, learn and craft suitable responses. Of course, this can be frustrating for change managers.
developing better systems,
Implementing more detailed guidance or training, or
providing more time to test the new.
Irrespective of the reasons for the delays our responsiveness to resistors provides all staff with more time to adjust.
Armed with more time they can better understand and achieve the change needed.
Pressure cooker release
Resistance also provides a legitimate outlet for the emotions associated with change. Informal or organised resistance gives people a chance to voice and vent. It gives people a chance to express their feelings, which they otherwise might not do without the resistors.
So don’t ‘react’ to the resistance by trying to shut it down. Think about it as the ‘air under your wings’ that enable change to fly.