Change initiatives: overcoming resistance

By William Seidman Change initiatives are always bound to frighten people and organizations. No matter the method, be it webinars, classes or videos, change can’t take place when people want to stay the same and engage in the same old habits. So how can you fight resistance to change? One important factor needs to be considered, as Peter Bregman points out in a still current and relevant blog post in the Harvard Business Review: “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.” People make changes in their own lives all the time, but when change comes about in the workplace, they may feel coerced. The key, Bregman writes, is to give people some control in the change process. Bregman outlines three steps to achieving this.

  1. Define the outcomes you want.
  2. Suggest a path to achieve it.
  3. Allow people to reject the path as long as they choose an alternative route to the same outcome.
Not coincidentally, these steps are completely in line with our approach to affirmative leadership:
  1. Set the bar: Identify your star performers and uncover their wisdom and knowledge to create a path to mastery.
  2. Motivate change: Positive visualization and persuasive technologies motivate the adoption of change.
  3. Sustain Change: Using research from neuroscience, you can guide people to sustain change, even when they are resistant to change.
  4. Scale the Change: The concept of mass customization enables each person within the organization to have a unique experience so that they feel more control in the process, rather than feeling coerced against their will. This approach helps to drive quick adoption by mass numbers of people.

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