Friday, December 11, 2009

Resistance to Change May Not be Injurious to Org Health!

Why do we only toe a line that resistance is bad for change? It may actually be good. It works like a good opposition in a democracy. If there wasn't friction we could see meaningless change everyday...and that would be more chaos than we already have. Let's not always assume that friction and resistance is not a good thing.

If people with 15 years or more experience have a view should we not listen to it with empathy? And make changes in our plans, if required. I manage change for a living and face resistance all the time. And in many cases the one’s resisting have a damn good point. It is the job of the change agent to listen, learn, and modify his/her plans. This need not be seen as weakness or lack of conviction. It should be seen as flexibility and empathy. For, if the people who have to live the change feel that they have been listened to, the change process will be better off.

Assuming, that some of you agree with this point of view, I also realize that in many cases we face resistance which defies logic. Here, I like to use something that the Quality Guru, J M Juran wrote. There are two kinds of change. One is a technological change and the other is the social consequence of the technological change. It is the social consequence which is often ignored and becomes a problem. If we can focus on this social consequence early in the change cycle, chances are we will have less resistance.

I also advocate celebration as a means of reducing likely resistance. Involve all in celebrating milestones and it could help. In some cases if the ‘contamination’ is dangerous, we must put our foot down and insist that some behavior will not be tolerated. If this comes from senior management it is likely to be believed. I have also tried having a heart to heart talk – let’s give this a fair chance kind of talk. If the change works then it was meant to work and if it doesn’t it wasn’t meant to work.

In summary, resistance and friction is not necessarily a bad thing if we have an open mind to it. When such friction is not useful, early involvement and decisive intolerance to bad behavior helps.
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

Anshuman Tiwari said...

Sure. Please use. A link back to my blog will be nice.
My Twitter account is agstiwari.

Amit Kallianpur (GK) said...

A very interesting and off-beat view presented. I agree that without resistance there would be too much change. Overkill !!!

After all, "Kites rise against, not with, the wind."

Keep up the good work, AT.

Amit Kallianpur (GK) said...

A very interesting and off-beat view presented. I agree that without resistance there would be too much change. Overkill !!!

After all, "Kites rise against, not with, the wind."

Keep up the good work, AT.

Manjot kaur said...

Fantastic blog you got here,I enjoyed reading some of your posts.

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