Change, tips for resolving resistance and conflict

I am going to assume you have been following my blogs on change to date, which means you know the answer to the 4matt of change, you know your outcome, you know the rub points, you have been able to answer what you are moving towards and away from and you have clearly communicated all these things to your team. Even with all this preparation, you are still hitting blockers.

If this is the case, there are a few things you are going to want to do. One of which starts by reading ‘Communicating Like a Boss‘ and going right to the section on ‘Rapport’. Key to your success with helping someone resistance to change, is going to be your ability to build ‘Rapport’ with them (you can also check out ‘Phone Rapport‘ and you will get the general sense of building rapport).

Next you are going to want to find why they are resistant, why don’t they want to change, what is it about the outcome they don’t agree with. Keeping in mind, this is not the time to win the person over, it is the time to listen and validate with them that you have heard what they said. This is easily done by repeating back what you think they said and ensuring they agree that you understand.

Next, you want to find out what they would want to happen differently, not with the promise of changing the change, but providing them an opportunity to give their thoughts and be considered.

Finally, agree to come back to the issue one hour/day/week from this moment and talk about the outcome and to see if their position has changed and if they still want to take part in the change……..

Wait, what…….. I feel like there is something important there?

If people do not want to be a part of change, you legitimately need to consider that they may not want to work in this environment any more and that should be provided as an option with no hard feelings. Sometimes when things change, those changes impact peoples values, beliefs and reasons for working for a company. You need to be prepared that people will leave, depending on the gravity of a change.

Now, with that out of the way, what other things can you do to help overcome change resistance?

  1. Enable peer to peer bitching
    • Giving people a recourse free way to bitch and moan about a change can be very cathartic and enable them to get on board with the change (so long as it does not get in the way of their work or negatively impact customers perception of the team).
  2. Listening
    • Providing the team access to multiple mediums to be heard including: open conversations, suggestion boxes, email addresses  and any other form a person might like to use to communicate in their own unique way.
    • Keep in mind, it is highly likely that the change is happening, regardless of what team members might think or say. With this in mind, spend lots and lots of time listening and very little time trying to convince people it is the right thing for them and that they should get on board.
  3. Defining your place in the new world
    • The ultimate reason people resist change is that they don’t understand their place in the new world order. If you want to help people get past their issue with change, you need to clearly spell out how they will be a part of the business going forward and that they are valuable to the success of the team going forward.
    • When doing this, make sure it is not a group email out, to get the best results talk with people one on one to communicate this.

If you have done all of this and there are still issues, it is time to move onto the next change topic, steps to take when a person doesn’t want to change.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?


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