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Lead Through Personality Complexity: Enough with Change Resistance Already!

Lead Through Personality Complexity:  Enough with Change Resistance Already! | Change Management Resources |

People don't resist change, they resist being changed. Enough with regurgitating this awesome quote, start THINKING about what it means!


...there’s no way to “ensure” everyone is progressing through the change at the same rate and same intensity.


...Explore the symptoms of resistance:

[Try] using David Kersey’s Temperaments combined with the stages of Satir:

  • Satir Change Model Stages: Old Status Quo, Foreign Element, Chaos, Transforming Idea, Practice and Integration, New Status Quo.  This model explains how people respond to change physically, psychologically and logically.
David Kersey’s Temperaments (Carl Jung based):

  • SP (Artisans): Live for the chaos! Love the excitement... inventing problems that might not exist so they have “something to solve.
  • SJ (Guardians): Fight to preserve the status quo because it’s familiar...because they don’t want to dive into chaos until they know every possible detail of the change
  • NF (Harmonizers): Help people through the pain of chaos...Will want to not implement a change if it’ll upset the ‘herd.’
  • NT (Rationals): Fly through the change when it appeases their logic and moves on to the next change before anyone else has integrated the first change.

...Imagine...a team with people [with] competing preferences trying to make sense of an Agile transformation? How about if you have Artisans [the author of this piece - Jason Little] keeping the organization in a constant state of chaos?    ....Now I realize it isn’t “the other people”, it’s my approach.  

 ...I need to know when to push, and when to lay off...and I didn’t even touch the hundreds of cognitive biases that affect how people respond to change. cannot put a budget and schedule on change, there’s no way to “ensure” everyone is progressing through the change at the same rate and same intensity.

Related tools & posts by Deb:

  • Stay in touch with Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's  NINE multi-gold award winning curation streams from @Deb Nystrom, REVELN delivered once a month via email, available for free here,via REVELN Tools.    




Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Leading through complexity is an essential element of change management.  This post  is a good reminder of the layers of difference in change adoption - useful for Jungians - and the MBTI familiar  (Myers Briggs, Keirsey) as well as those using similar personality tools.  

It's also a good reminder for leaders, who know the nuances of any personality assessment.  It highlights that your perspective is quite limited.  Different perspectives of those on your leadership team, if they are diverse and helpful in their differences, and speak up, is of great value in true leadership teamwork.  ~  D

Philippe Vallat's curator insight, May 19, 5:06 PM

Because complexity management has something to do with emergence, and emergence leads to change...

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, July 19, 3:34 PM
Some great shares here. Thanks for the comments and thanks everyone!
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Good Resistance, Bad Resistance: How can you tell?

Good Resistance, Bad Resistance:  How can you tell? | Change Management Resources |

When you think of an employee who is resistant to change, what comes to mind?  ....research on constructive resistance is on the rise.

Positive deviance is the scholarly term for constructive resistance.  The technical term is "constructive deviance," however deviance is so associated to criminal activity, I wish they had picked a different term (Warren, 2004).  They mean deviation from the norm, but the way.

Conflict is probably the easiest type of constructive resistance to tackle in this post.  Groupthink theory (Janis, 1972) posits that a LACK of conflict is bad for a project's performance.

See more at:

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

One of Ron's recent post on understanding the true nature of resistance.  ~  Deb

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Surprised by Resistance to a Desirable Change - Tutorial Series Tools

Surprised by Resistance to a Desirable Change - Tutorial Series Tools | Change Management Resources |

"Prosci (ADKAR) is sharing online tutorials for change management, including this example of the second of a three part series focused on resistance management."
I'm intrigued by how Prosci uses the terms for change and resistance management, which they define in this tutorial series.  We'll be offering more soon on understanding motivations for resistance.   For now, we have Prosci's "resistance management" for comparison




Steps for addressing resistance to a desirable change


1. Establish frameworks: There are two principles to consider: 

  • a) A desirable change doesn’t mean everyone will desire it, and 
  • b) Resistance does not always mean there is a lack of desire. 


2. Conduct root-cause analysis: There are personal and organizational contexts to change that can influence the speed of adoption, ultimate utilization and proficiency at a change on an individual level.


Includes examples such as:

  • Change A (email system change) includes,  “a lack of desire is not always the cause of resistance.” After further analysis, it has become apparent that the employee lacks the knowledge to effectively configure the new email system, though the desire to use the new system is in place.
  • Change B (office location change) – a transition state that is causing difficulties for the employee. Her behaviors appear to demonstrate that she doesn’t desire to move, but in reality she might just need more time to adjust and get settled.


  • Change C (benefits package change) – On the surface, the change seemed to be desirable because of its beneficial monetary impact on employees’ bonus checks. However, in the cited case, the change from quarterly payments to bi-annual is the source of resistance as it has disrupted a staff member's personal plans.

3. Develop approach for managing resistance: Prosci outlines Three avenues for managing resistance, including preventative, proactive and reactive resistance management.


Tactics for addressing resistance:

1. Engage key players

2. Be an advocate and coach

3. Employ reactive resistance management

Read the full article here.

Here are some posts by Deb on stakeholder events that involve everyone:

Open Space on Speed: Social Business with the Coaches, Results! Video
Trusted Advisors Open Space, Global Change ACMP 2012
Open Space & Renewal, AAHC Board Retreat Highlights 2012

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The Irony of Empowerment in Change: Kotter Theory vs. Practice

The Irony of Empowerment in Change:  Kotter Theory vs. Practice | Change Management Resources |

As I thought about Push in the context of Kotter's model, I imagined the table you see above.  

In most "less than successful" change projects, the Tops drive steps 1, 2, and 3.  Step 4 is the Tops using HR or Communication to PUSH "their" change downhill.  


I found it ironic that what Kotter envisioned as empowerment is often the stage where resistance takes over.

Because participation is normally restricted in steps 1, 2, and 3, the Middles & Bottoms lack ownership.  People support what they help create.  People do NOT support what they do NOT help create.  

I looked at Phillip's (McKinsey early 80s) change management model and thought about Kotter's 8 steps.  This is what it looks like to me:

- See more at:

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I found Ron's chart very direct, humorous and a bit sobering.  How does it match your change project stories?  ~  Deb

Harry Cannon's comment, July 30, 2013 3:59 AM
Perhaps some see Kotter's steps as a formula? Follow the steps and it will work. But missing the poont about real and honest engagement and listening.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, July 30, 2013 10:12 AM
Yes, Harry, exactly! There are also communication problems in being too formulaic, Ron's companion post just added.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, November 7, 2013 11:17 AM

Ron has a helpful series on understanding how to fully use a change model for change leadership.  Both he and I are of the "Whole Scale Change" school of engagement for change, via the late Kathie Dannemiller, a respected consultant formerly from Ford and the University of Michigan. 

Ownership and productive tension of leadership at all levels can make a real different if change readiness and culture change are in the context of what is next and needed for your organization.

From Change Management Resources ~  Deb

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Apathy Chooses a Flow through Resistance in Change, Not a Continuum

Apathy Chooses a Flow through Resistance in Change, Not a Continuum | Change Management Resources |

Dr. Coetsee reasons that a person begins with apathy, a state that is neither for or against the change.   

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Ron highlights Dr. Coetsee's support of Judson's continuum concept with a more organic configuration as a flow model.

Stay tuned for more news of Ron's additional work on the topic of resistance and choice in this flow model, including overcommitment.  

~  Deb

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, January 25, 2013 5:42 PM
@Luca, thanks for your support and sharing. :-)
Luca Appia's comment, January 25, 2013 9:08 PM
@Deb, thank you too for this articles :-)
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Fear & the Real Roots of Change Resistance - from the Five Basic Fears, Albrecht

Fear & the Real Roots of Change Resistance - from the Five Basic Fears, Albrecht | Change Management Resources |

"Author Dale observes how three of Karl Albrecht's core fears 'We All Live By' are directly related to change resistance."

Naming things correctly is powerful, especially when dealing with change resistance.


Author DALE ARSENEAULT comments on the recent Psychology Today blog post by Karl Albrecht, on the root fears that drive all others from his compact post, The (Only) Five Basic Fears We All Live By.  


....core fears are directly related to change resistance.      




Karl helpfully includes what fear is:   An anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience.


Dale observes how three of Karl's described core fears are directly related to change resistance.


  • Loss of Autonomy - fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, restricted, enveloped, overwhelmed, entrapped, imprisoned, smothered, or controlled by circumstances. In a physical form, it's sometimes known as claustrophobia, but it also extends to social interactions and relationships.
  • Separation - fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of connectedness - of becoming a non-person - not wanted, respected, or valued by anyone else. The "silent treatment," when imposed by a group, can have a devastating psychological effect on the targeted person.
  • Ego-death - fear of humiliation, shame, or any other mechanism of profound self-disapproval that threatens the loss of integrity of the Self;  fear of the shattering or disintegration of one's constructed sense of lovability, capability, and worthiness.
Dale comments that good change strategy is not just about throwing more information at people.  It is about:
  • understanding the fear and dealing effectively with it.
  • communicate clearly about when change does not affect autonomy, separation (or connectedness) and integrity of the individual. 
  • being clear and transparent about instances where there is impact so people can make informed decisions, offering help as needed.

Photo credit:  by *Zephyrance - don't wake me up, posted on

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