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Managing Resistance as a Change Agent

Many of us are what’s considered a “Change Agent.” We are brought into companies to shake things up, to push the status quo, to make our organizations better. But it usually doesn’t feel like we’re changing much, just getting more grey hairs.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t receive some level of resistance at work from clients, account teams, managers or reports. You only make progress through resistance. This manifests in everything from: “There’s no way we can do that” to the more common “yes but…”

I consider most days a success if I get 2 out of 3 asks and often have to comprise for 1 out of 3 assuming I get anything at all. If I get all 3 I probably wasn’t pushing hard enough.

There are a lot of articles and books and blogs on how to drive change within your organization but there are very few that tell you how to deal personally with the resistance you face.

I found this entire article very helpful Dealing with resistance: the 4 + 2 method, but I especially liked these 6 points:

  • Consciously acknowledge to yourself that you are encountering resistance.
  • Center yourself. (Use deep breathing or even a brief meditation, if you have time.)
  • In your own mind, consciously grant them permission to take the position they are adopting.
  • Explore, investigate, become curious about their resistance. (Use questions to find out about the source of their opposition.)
  • Declare your own perceptions, expectations, requirements and rationale.
  • Resolve/decide/act as you see fit. (Here you exercise your ultimate responsibility for performance results.)
  • Photo credit By Balakov

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    About Tac

    Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

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    • http://twitter.com/foleymo Micheal Foley

      Ah! That's where I'm going wrong. I usually skip Step 2 and go straight to pouting or banging my head against the wall. Next time I'll try centering myself and see if I can get all the way through to Step 6.

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