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We’ve all complained about those who resist change – ‘…if only they would move on or move out!’…

..well let’s turn that around and embrace the resistance at least for a while…in that resistance I have often found truths, insights, critiques and data that were essential to engage with, that made a major difference to the thrust of the change and also the process of that change. Have a think about the following five tips for working with resistance – they have transformed many a change process from a probable failure to a good chance of sustained success…

1. Don’t demonise them – embrace the resistant colleague

It is just lazy to discount with a heavy ladle of – ‘…you know who will be against this – they always are...’ or some version of same. To sustain change is to play the long game of not just bringing people along with us but have them co-create the change with us. In the resistance may be the insights we need to give our change process a fighting chance – remember what change guru John Kotter tells us that only around 30% of change processes work. Give yourself and your organisation a better change – embrace the resistance.

2. Listen and learn

Listening to resistance in a real way can be transformative on both sides of the conversation. Those who resist can often expect to be ignored, sidelined or bypassed – what a difference when their view is in fact respected not in a token way but in a manner that questions, adds and shapes a proposed change process.

3. It’s the relationship stupid

So many change experts tell us that it is in connecting to the emotional layer professionally that we open up the willingness to move in new directions. I will trust this person, I will follow this leader that I know respects me – not so much this fancy document with neat graphs!

4. Culture bites

All the best-laid plans will be as nothing without the culture bit being addressed. Drucker tells us that culture eats strategy for breakfast – well it dines out on badly calibrated change processes! A change process that does not engage in all aspects of organisational culture will just not work…I mean all aspects, not just how we value this, that and the other good thing, but our operational reality, the way we really do things around here…

5. Now get on with it

Loving the resistance does not mean giving in to it - rather respecting it, learning from it, co-creating with it. The task is still about moving forward so don’t stay in the embrace just be better as a result of it… change luke
Luke Monahan is an accredited mediator, nationally and internationally. His expertise is in workplace conflict and is accredited with the Mediation Training Institute in the USA and the Mediation Institute of Ireland. He is an Executive coach and certified in emotional intelligence measurement and coaching. Luke teaches on the IMI Diploma in Organisational Behaviour. Luke will also be leading the second workshop in our 2016 CPD series on Motivating and Managing across Generations. It will take place on Tuesday June 21st. Further details here. _____________________________________ [post_title] => Love the resistance – Change better… [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => love-resistance-change-better [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:08:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:08:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19182 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_content] => [post_title] => 5 Tips for Motivating Employees [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-motivating-employees [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21835 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2018-01-29 15:12:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-29 15:12:20 [post_content] => [post_title] => 5 Top Tips for Being Focused in Work [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-top-tips-focused-work [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-13 10:33:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-13 10:33:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13041 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2015-11-19 16:33:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-19 16:33:16 [post_content] =>

“There are two certainties in life, death and taxes” said Brad Pitt in the 1998 movie  “Meet Joe Black”. Actually I believe there is a third certainty, problems.

wrong solution car


Problems are part of the journey of life, we cannot move forward without dealing with some sort of problem from the most primordial of finding food and shelter, to the most trivial of choosing the right colour tie for your next meeting. The fact is that problems are very deceiving, in so many ways they are also similar to illnesses in that we despise them deeply. Like illnesses we become aware of them only when they hurt, by which time it is probably already too late to stop them doing some damage. Once we become aware of a problem and feel its pain we tend to treat the symptoms rather than truly tackling the causes. And again, like illnesses if we leave serious problems untreated and only tend to their symptoms they generally turn into even bigger problems and sometimes far to advance to be able to fix them.

Are you feeling the pain yet?

If you are, don’t panic just quite yet. Most problems can be resolved quite easily by simply understanding them and exploring them from different angles. We often believe there is only one right solution to a problem, in reality the solution to every problem doesn't depend on its symptoms but on its desired outcome. Exploring a problem from different angles allows us to gain clarity on what is going on and provide us with the opportunity to formulate a number of options and alternatives to focus on achieving what is truly important.

Do you feel as healthy as a fish?

If you don't then perhaps you should question why? Problems become serious only if we ignore smaller issues that don’t seem to mean much when they surface. Because they are so trivial and don’t seem to have an impact on the overall big picture such small issues tend to go unchecked until they become big enough. Then this requires all hands on deck to resolve and will distract everyone from performing the way they could. It is important to question the potential impact of small issues. What can happen if you don’t tackle them? What are they the symptoms of? What critical values are they eroding in your organisation?

Have you had these symptoms before?

If you have then it doesn't mean what is happening right now is the same as what you have experienced before. It might be the same problem but almost certainly the conditions in which its presenting itself are very different and the solution that worked before might not work this time. Experience forms connections in our brain between situations and actions. This is very useful when we operate under pressure but most often it causes us to make rushed decision and bad choices. It is always important to understand: What is different this time? How different are the causes from my previous experience? Which new conditions are causing the problem this time?

dr google


Googling won’t make it better, it will almost certainly make you feel worse!

Today it’s easy to “Google” any problem and find ready made solutions very quickly. The internet is indeed a powerful resource to find interesting answers and ideas but remember your problem has very unique characteristics and to be able to solve it effectively it is important to involve the people around you that are connected with it.

Most of the time fresh eyes help finding new and innovative solutions but before throwing all your energy on any external solution it is important to be candid and open up with what is really going on internally.

  Fabio Grassi is the Programme Director for Innovative Problem Solving, a two day programme which runs on the 26th & 27th of November 2015. Fabio is a specialist in the development of team performance, collaboration and motivation.  [post_title] => Are you treating the right problem? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bugging-treating-right-problem [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:28:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:28:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Hugh Torpey

Hugh Torpey

30th Jul 2018

Hugh Torpey is the Content Manager at the IMI.

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Are you treating the right problem?

The Attention-Grabbing Influence of Laziness

Alligators are lazy creatures. Go to an alligator farm, throw a piece of meat at them and unless you land that meat exactly in their bite zone, the alligator won’t move a muscle.

Human beings aren’t much different.

We are instinctual, lazy creatures who believe we operate at the height of rationality. In the commercial world, this can give organisations a clear pathway for growth and innovation that, due to its fundamental nature, is often overlooked.

Prof. Zoe Chance delivered the IMI Masterclass

If you think about companies that have revolutionised industries or disrupted their competitors, it is very likely they were innovating on the dimension of ease; making it easier for people to do business with them.

And this does not just apply to products of convenience. Even when an individual believes in a cause and is motivated to do something about it, laziness will generally win, and win big. Taking organ donations as an example, in countries that automatically opt-in people to be donors, donation rates will approach 100%. In countries where people must check a box to become an organ donor – just check one box – those rates can drop well below 20%.

For established players in the market, this insight that laziness wins can have profound results.

Domino’s pizza, operating in a highly competitive environment, put ease of service at the heart of a new strategic campaign. Primarily by using digital technologies – being able to order with a Tweet, through the single touch of a button on a customer’s phone or smart watch – Dominos made it exceptionally easy for customers to use their service.

In a saturated marketplace, they not only took 12% market share from their competitor, Pizza Hut, but they also grew the overall pizza delivery market in the US. They didn’t achieve this by changing ingredients, a celebrity endorsement or by discounting prices, but simply by making it easier to buy.

Instinct always wins

In his seminal book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel prize-winner Daniel Kahneman popularised the theory that human beings make decisions in two basic ways.

The first, he called System 1, was the emotional, automatic and gut instinct of a person. The second, System 2, was the side, where decisions are made over time and with deliberation. Zoe’s research points towards the propensity of the human brain to be heavily weighted towards system 1.

People will consistently say ‘ah, but I’m different, I work more rationally than the average person’. Behavioural studies point to….


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Hugh Torpey is the Content Manager at the IMI. This article is based on a Masterclass talk given at the IMI by Zoe Chance for IMI Members. For more on IMI Membership, go here

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