Harvard Business Review has a wonderful article (here) by Jeffrey D. Ford and Laurie W. Ford explaining the importance of understanding the resistance to change. The authors say it is easy to point fingers to resisters, and blaming them can lead to destructive behaviors. They say these are important feedback opportunities and can help formulate a better plan.
I am reminded of a project at a water utility years ago where we implemented PeopleSoft’s inventory module. One of our key constituents was “Ron,”a union leader who refused to change his practices, as their way of doing things for twenty years worked well, and he saw no reason to change. My predecessor spent a lot of time trying to explain why his position was irrational, and the project’s approach was the logical way to proceed.
We took pains to understand Ron’s point of view, persuade him that there was a middle ground we could achieve, and engaged his support in persuading others to join our effort. By the end of the project, Ron was instrumental in securing buy-in from his peers, AND anticipating other pockets of resistance we would have to overcome. Read the article to understand five ways you can use resistance to effect change more productively.