Monday, December 7, 2009

Dealing With Resistance: The Constant Struggle - part #2

THEME: Fall 2009 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable Report

FOCUS: Dealing With Resistance: The Constant Struggle - part #2

Monday morning: December 7, 2009

Dear friends,

Some days, we forget that resistance comes in code.

Last week, I referenced the work of Jeffery D. Ford and Laurie W. Ford, in their article, “Decoding Resistance to Change”, Harvard Business Review, April 2009. As they wrote, “Resistance is, in fact, a form of feedback, often provided by people who know more about day-to-day operations than you do.”

When this feedback is delivered, many leaders do not understand it and get lost. To help them decipher this feedback, I often encourage leaders to read the following article about the work of Peter Senge called “Learning For A Change” in the May 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine. Here is the web address of this article: < >.

For example, when a leader receives the following feedback, “our customers don’t want it”, “our competitors aren’t doing it”, or “why turn things upside down if our performance is good enough”, morelikely the followers are strugging with how the initial changes were presented and do not understand the context and urgency for change.

If a leaders hears “We don’t have time for this stuff!” or “We have no help!”, they need to realize people need control over their schedules in order to give the new ideas and systems the time and effort they deserve. They also need regular support, coaching and resources to learn the new way.

Finally, leaders may encounter a group of people who say “This stuff isn’t working!” or “We keep reinventing the wheel.” Clearly, a great deal of resistance comes when early results do not meet the expectations and traditional measurements that a group is used to working with and delivering to senior leaders. Furthermore, some groups will struggle if past changes are never integrated into sustainable change.

In the end, resistance Is reduced through timely and accurate information, involvement, and intervention. The goal of every change initiative is to mobilize talent and imagination which can not only challenge the status quo but deliver better results.

This week, read the aforementioned article with your team plus practice deciphering the code.

Have a great week,


Geery Howe, M.A.
Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in
Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change

Morning Star Associates
319 - 643 - 2257

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