We spend a lot of our lives trying to make things happen. But when things don’t go as we’d like, it’s usually down to one of two reasons: either we didn’t do it well, or others didn’t want it to take place.

Okay, let’s assume you are good at what you do, you listen for what could be done better still, you’re clear on what’s to be done, and you’re an all-round nice guy or gal. What is stopping things happening, then? Why don’t others want change to occur?

The truth is that there are rational and emotional reasons for staff resistance. Rationally, the people that work alongside or for you could be overloaded already. Alternatively, they might have information that you don’t.

The good news here is that you can deal with these things logically. You can understand how to do consumption planning or create ‘landing slots’. People and organisations can only take in so many changes at one time, after all. So it’s a logical step to create plans from the receivers’ point of view rather than the project’s.

And when it comes to staff having information that you don’t – well, the reality here is that you can find out what you don’t know. Once you have this knowledge, you can work with it. You can make clear that the information has been taken in to account and thereby ease any staff concerns.

Emotional reasons are a different ball game, however. People may perceive a risk to themselves, or feel that they won’t be competent to cope once the changes have been introduced. Sometimes, staff might think that they’d be betraying their colleagues by accepting the changes. On other occasions, they simply won’t believe it can or will be done. Alternatively, they could be sceptics – the type that have ‘seen it all before’ – or they just might not trust your motives for bringing in the change in the first place.

What can you do in these circumstances? How can you begin to deal with resistance when it’s built on emotion rather than logic?

 

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