Starting with resistance in mind?

MLHighlight, Uncategorized


When facilitating a change leadership workshop last year, the one concern right up there on the list of what people wanted to take away was how to deal with resistance to change. This is an issue that keeps many leaders awake at night and there it was again. Perversely, I decided to defer this discussion to later in the workshop, telling myself that a clear roadmap is where these leaders needed to start. I told my audience about the importance of working from a compelling vision and a “commitment plan” instead of from a “resistance plan” – not noticing that my message deflated the energy that was building up in the audience.

My position comes from a belief that our choice of language shapes our experience. Talking about resistance without the big picture of commitment is self-defeating. I also recognize that a deeper understanding of the human experience of change is crucial in going from managing change to leading change. Painting a compelling vision and building a transition plan are skills that complement the primary ability to create human connections based on mutual understanding.

Thanks to the feedback I got in preparing a webinar for the Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) I now start my workshops with top-of-mind issues and a review of change patterns, human reactions to change and phases of transitions. An important take away: regardless of how positive a change might seem people (leaders included) will sooner or later get to a point where resistance might set in. Now – this is something important to know in creating a great Commitment Plan.


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