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Love the resistance – Change better…



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.


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