LEADING THRU CHANGE: How To Deal With Resistance

By Greg Niemi . November 22, 2015


It is inevitable we must deal with resistance, whether internally or externally, when leading through change, business transformations or other major initiatives.

We have a choice to (i) be overcome by the resistance or (ii) overcome the resistance.

Of course, I recommend to overcome the resistance by anticipating it, embracing it, valuing it and dealing with it in a positive constructive manner.

Resistance is actually needed.  Resistance, like downforce in auto racing, actually creates traction (aka grip) and prevents us from flying off the road.

We need to be thankful for resistance and resisters.  What follows are best practices for how to best deal with resistance and resisters I presented in a recent webcast.

Your best tool is communication and education. Communicate the benefits of the change, the WIIFM. Talk to resisters and listen too … to avoid crashes.

Next is Involvement.  Here is a rule of thumb for you to write down:  Involvement = Buy In.  Now flip it; Buy In = Involvement.  Involve resisters (e.g., whether they’re customers, employees, stakeholders, etc.) in the initiative.

Have flexibility. Adjust, facilitate and negotiate to find common ground.  I am not implying to totally concede or compromise.

Gain followers. Let followers catch up to you.  The more mass the more force.  In business, it is not just about you getting across the finish line.

Last but not least is drive on. Take the wheel, lead and have the chutzpah to stay the course when it is for the greater good of the organization.

Most of your people are cheering you on.  Realize you will not get 100% support, especially at first, with new initiatives.  Allow time for them to get on board.

The more often people experience successful change the more resilient and receptive they become for future changes.

Enjoy the journey 🙂

Greg Niemi

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